Crime still unacceptably high, but SA records a decrease in murder rate

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Police Minister Bheki Cele says while there are still unacceptably high crime levels, violent crime levels are starting to show a decrease.

“We have analysed these recent figures and this Ministry remains persuaded, that the decision to aggressively and strategically confront crime, was the right one,” Cele said at a media briefing to announce the first quarter of the 2023/2024 crime statistics.

He said the statistics give a sober assessment of the state of crime in the country and the progress made by law enforcement to safeguard the nation and its people.

Cele said for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the murder rate had declined in a single quarter.

Between April and June this year, police recorded 6 228 counts of murder. This was 196 less people killed compared to the same time last year. Out of the 6 228 people killed during April to June, 1 188 were women and children.

Apart from Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, all provinces recorded decreases for murder in this quarter.

The Northern Cape recorded a 11.1% increase in murders, while double-digit percentage declines were noted in the Limpopo and North West provinces. Murders for April to June 2023 in those two provinces dropped by 10.0% and 11.5% respectively.

Apart from the drop in murder counts, notable decreases in other crime categories have also been observed during April to June this year.

These include decreases in sexual offences by 1.9% (to 11 616 incidents), trio crimes (car hijackings, house robberies and business robberies) declined by 5.2%.

Meanwhile, property-related crimes decreased by 4.5% and contact related crimes decreased by 1.6%.

Further declines have also been noted in rape and sexual assault counts reported to the police, in the three months of reporting. These crime categories recorded 2.8% and 3.8% decreases respectively.

“All property related crimes such as burglaries residential, burglary non-residential, stock theft, theft of motor vehicles and theft out of motor vehicles recorded significant declines.”

The Minister was pleased with the decline in contact-related crimes, particularly common and street robberies as well as hijackings which declined by 6.4%.

“There were over 1 000 less counts of car jackings and robberies at non-residential areas in the three months of reporting. However, it does remain concerning that robberies at people’s homes are still stubbornly high.

“We must strengthen policing efforts and work closer with the private security sector and community patrollers to prevent such home invasions where people are meant to be the safest,” Cele said at the briefing held in Pretoria on Friday.

Despite the reduction, police together with society must do more to protect the country’s women and children.

“The crime figures show that the majority of sexual assaults are still taking place between people that are familiar with each other. Sexual assaults are taking place in the homes of victims and perpetrators,” Cele said.