South Africa

The crimes that are getting worse in South Africa

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has presented the country’s latest crime statistics, covering the third quarter of the 2021/22 financial year, October to December 2021.

Total reported crimes over the period declined by 3.3%, both as a result of reported crimes, as well as a reduction in the number of crimes detected through police activity.

Contact crimes, which include categories like assault and sexual offences, were down overall, but violent crimes like murder and attempted murder are up.

South Africa recorded 6,859 murders in the three-month period, up from 6,279 the year before (+9.2%). Attempted murders were up 3.5%, with the SAPS tracking 5,645 cases.

Contact-related crimes and other serious crimes were both up in the quarter, with a notable increase in carjackings (+13.8%) and commercial crimes (+15.9%).

On a more positive front, property crimes were down, with big drops in common robbery (-11.0%), theft out of vehicles (-11.1%) and shoplifting (-15.1%).

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Crime detected as a result of police action was down. This category of crime reporting is difficult to describe as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as reduced numbers may reflect fewer instances of crime (a positive trend) or a lack of policing (a negative trend).

Provincially, Gauteng reported the most number of crimes, with 107,815 cases opened by the community. This is followed by the Western Cape with 72,547 cases, and KwaZulu-Natal with 61,605 cases.

In previous quarterly reports, the SAPS compared the 2021/22 stats to those in 2019, saying that the 2020/21 period was not comparable because of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

For the third quarter stats, 2019 comparisons have been dropped and figures have returned to regular year-on-year analysis.

SA crime stats: Q3 2020 vs Q3 2021

2020 vs 2021 Oct-Dec 2020 Oct-Dec 2021 Change
Contact Crimes 171 764 164 953 -4.0%
Contact-related Crimes 30 989 31 621 +2.0%
Property-related Crimes 99 034 91 450 -7.7%
Other Serious Crimes 97 931 101 820 +4.0%
Total public reported 399 718 389 844 -2.5%
Crime detected as a result of police action 59 800 54 608 -8.7%
Total 459 518 444 452 -3.3%
  • Contact crimes include murder, attempted murder and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery.
  • Contact-related crimes include arson and malicious injury to property.
  • Other serious crimes include commercial crime, shop-lifting, and other types of theft – while aggravated robbery includes hijackings, robbery at residences, and cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies.
  • Crimes detected as a result of police action cover crimes discovered by active policing, such as roadblocks and raids. This category covers the illegal possession of firearms, DUI or driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol), and the use, possession or trade of illegal drugs.

Biggest increases in crime categories for 3Q21

Category Oct-Dec 2020 Oct-Dec 2021 Change
Bank robbery 0 6 +6 cases
Commercial crime 23 428 27 155 +15.9%
Carjacking 4 794 5 455 +13.8%
Murder 6 279 6 859 +9.2%
Attempted murder 5 452 5 645 +3.5%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere 62 195 64 214 +3.2%
Truck hijacking 436 448 +2.8%
Malicious damage to property 30 032 30 658 +2.1%
Robbery at non-residential premises 5 052 5 138 +1.7%
Arson 957 963 +0.6%
Robbery at residential premises 5 781 5 760 -0.4%
Robbert with aggravating circumstances 34 599 34 143 -1.3%
Common assault 47 875 47 081 -1.7%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle 10 099 9 776 -3.2%
Stock-theft 7 854 7 404 -5.7%
Assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm 50 124 46 513 -7.2%
Burglary at residential premises 42 834 39 692 -7.3%
Burglary at non-residential premises 15 550 14 408 -7.3%
Robbery of cash in transit 65 60 -7.7%
Sexual offences 15 595 14 188 -9.0%
Common robbery 11 822 10 524 -11.0%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle 22 697 20 170 -11.1%
Shoplifting 12 308 10 451 -15.1%

Crime detected as a result of police action

Category Oct-Dec 2020 Oct-Dec 2021 Change
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 3 353 3 387 +1.0%
Drug-related crime 37 546 36 053 -4.0%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 16 259 13 181 -18.9%
Sexual offences discovered as a result of police action 2 642 1 987 -24.8%

Read: Big jump in hijackings in South Africa – these are the hotspot areas

Artmotion S.Africa

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