The Latest in 2022/23 Third-Quarter Crime Stats

Between October and December 2022, South Africa experienced an increase in violent crime, with murder, assault, and robbery statistics rising. According to Police Minister Bheki Cele, the statistics do not paint a positive picture of South Africa’s crime situation.

Cele announced the release of crime statistics for the third quarter of 2022, stating that 7,555 murders occurred during the period. The rates of common robbery (21.2%), assault (12.0%), assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (8.7%), and robbery with aggravated circumstances (10.8%) all increased. Sexual offences increased by 9.6%, from 14,188 to 15,545. Rape (9.8%), sexual assault (4.1%), and attempted sexual offences (45.6%) were also on the rise. From Q3 2021 to Q3 2022, the total number of contact crimes increased by 19,067 (11.6%).

Despite worrying increases in crime statistics, Cele stated that the department is fighting crime and that there has been a significant improvement in the number of crimes detected across South Africa. For example, the number of cash-in-transit heists (-5%) and bank robberies decreased slightly (5 counts lower). According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), the decrease in these crimes is due to increased police visibility via patrols, stop-and-search operations, roadblocks, and vehicle checkpoints. During the holiday season, the police arrested 52,711 people. Officers who collaborated with criminal elements were also fired, with 46 being fired for various transgressions.

Cele also stated that “police are also on the pulse in removing illegal weapons off our streets,” with 65,519 firearms being removed and destroyed during the period. Firearms were used in 3,144 of the 7,555 murders recorded during the period. Despite admitting that gun violence is a problem in South Africa, Cele claims that firearms are only a part of a larger problem.

Cele stated that high rates of unemployment and poverty, the growth of informal settlements with little to no services, and other socioeconomic ills are breeding criminality, which is aggravated by a large number of undocumented foreign nationals who are difficult to track down after committing a crime. However, the minister stated that several interventions are being implemented to address the problem.

Cele stated that the Ministry is expediting legislation aimed at closing gaps in policing and laws that strengthen police work. One example is the amendment to the SAPS Act to improve the operation of Community Policing Forums (CPFs). He stated that the amendments will allow the CPFS to function more effectively by providing more resources. CPFS is currently installed in 1,156 police stations across the country. As part of Operation Vuilindlela, the SAPS will also launch a mass recruitment drive to entice more people to work at the nation’s call centres, which remain at the heart of communication between the police and communities.

Furthermore, the police will order more patrol and high-powered vehicles to increase police visibility, as well as specialised units to respond to crime effectively. However, Cele pointed out that inequality, unemployment, and a lack of access to basic services stymie the police’s efforts. He stated that the recently adopted Integrated Crime and Violence Prevention Strategy must be expedited to improve safety and security across the country.

Contact crimes include murder, attempted murder, and sexual offences, as well as simple assault and robbery. These crimes rose from 164 953 recorded cases to 184 020 in the third quarter

Arson and malicious property damage are examples of contact-related crimes. These crimes rose from 31 621 recorded cases to 32 187, which indicates a 1.8% increase.

Commercial crime, shoplifting, and other types of theft are also serious crimes, while aggravated robbery includes hijackings, robberies at residences, cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies. These crimes rose to 10.6% as they went from 101 820 to 112 580, compared to the same period in the previous year.

Crimes discovered as a result of police action include those discovered through active policing such as roadblocks and raids. This category includes illegal firearms possession, DUI or driving while under the influence (of drugs or alcohol), and the use, possession, or trade of illegal drugs. In the category, the cases recorded went from 54 608 to 60 169, indicating a 10.2% increase. For instance, sexual offences discovered as a result of police stations saw 40.2% increase.

The crimes with the highest increase include attempted murder, shoplifting and common robbery. Attempted murder increased by 24.3%, shoplifting saw an increase of 23.3%, and common robbery rose by 21.2%. 16 286 cases of burglary at non-residential premises were recorded in the third quarter, which indicates a 13.0% increase, while burglary at residential premises rose by 8.6%.

The crimes that saw a decline include robbery at non-residential premises, theft of the motor vehicle and motorcycle, arson, robbery of cash in transit, and bank robbery.


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