South Africa’s latest crime stats – everything you need to know

The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Stats South Africa have published the latest crime statistics covering the first quarter of the 2021/22 financial year (April to June 2021).

The data shows red across the board, with crime increasing in all but two categories during the period. Crimes that saw a drop were stock theft (-8.0%) and burglary at non-residential premises (-22.4%).

The vast majority of crime categories saw increases in the double-digits.

Police minister Bheki Cele said that the crime figures for the quarter appear greatly inflated because of the state of lockdown in the country at the time of the last comparable quarter.

The first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year coincided with level 5 lockdown, which kept almost everyone indoors and most businesses closed – including taverns, liquor outlets, night clubs, sporting activities and places of entertainment, he said.

These venues are largely regarded as causative factors of crime. The Q1 2020 figures, which were very low because of the lockdown period, were compared to a ‘normal’ Q1 2019, presenting a distorted and skewed view.

“Today, we are in the same space of comparing the incomparable. The very same shock of last year is repeating itself with an exaggerated extreme opposite,” Cele said. “The double-figure eye-popping increase in most crime categories is informed by the same adjusted lockdown levels and distorted crime trends.”

The police minister said he didn’t want to ‘sweep away’ the large increases in crime but wanted to rather contextualise the current stats by comparing it to a more ‘normal’ period in 2019. However, even in doing so, crime trends are pointing upwards.

For example, in the three months of reporting for Q1 2021, a 66.2% increase in murder was recorded compared to Q1 2020. Compared to the Q1 2019 period, the murder rate would have increased by 6.7%.

Aggravated robberies such as carjacking increased by 92.2% compared to the previous corresponding period. This figure would have increased by 13.1% if compared to the same period in 2019/2020.


SA crime stats: Q1 2020 vs Q1 2021

2020 vs 2021 Apr-Jun 2020  Apr-Jun 2021 Change
Contact Crimes 90 376 145 120 +60.6%
Contact-related Crimes 19 191 27 304 +42.3%
Property-related Crimes 86 410 91 604 +6.0%
Other Serious Crimes 70 518 95 367 +35.2%
Total public reported 266 495 359 395 +34.9%
Crime detected as a result of police action 25 093 47 187 +88.0%
Total 291 588 406 582 +39.4%
  • 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 1Q21

Category Apr-Jun 2020 Apr-Jun 2021 Change
Sexual offences discovered as result of police action 411 1 428 +247.4%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 3 168 10 964 +246.1%
Robbery of cash in transit 19 46 +142.1%
Truck hijacking 198 411 +107.6%
Carjacking 2 677 5 146 +92.2%
Sexual Offences 7 296 12 702 +74.1%
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm 22 064 37 530 +70.1%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle 5 564 9 433 +69.5%
Drug-related crime 18 767 31 648 +68.6%
Murder 3 466 5 760 +66.2%
Common robbery 6 469 10 701 +65.4%
Robbery at non-residential premises 3 341 5 255 +57.3%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances 21 599 33 876 +56.8%
Commercial crime 15 431 24 030 +55.7%
Arson 633 978 +54.5%
Common assault 25 995 39 406 +51.6%
Attempted murder 3 487 5 145 +47.5%
Malicious injury to property 18 558 26 326 +41.9%
Robbery at residential premises 4 006 5 346 +33.4%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere 45 455 60 056 +32.1%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle 17 533 21 310 +21.5%
Shoplifting 9 632 11 281 +17.1%
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 2 747 3 147 +14.6%
Burglary at residential premises 37 128 39 477 +6.3%
Bank robbery 0 1 +1 case
Stock-theft 7 345 6 757 -8.0%
Burglary at non-residential premises 18 840 14 627 -22.4%

The table below outlines the crime category comparison between Q1 2021 and the same period in 2020 and the ‘normal’ period in 2019.

Source: Business Tech – 20 August 2021

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0