2013/14 National Crime Statistics
The South African Police Service's National Crime Statistics measures 20 serious crimes, 17 of these crimes are reported by the community and three are those detected by the police. Put differently, the 17 crime categories are supposed to decrease whilst the three (possession of unlawful firearm and ammunition, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession or dealing in drugs) are supposed to increase as a result of police detection.
The information about these crimes is presented in two ways: actual cases reported to the police (raw figures) or ratios. The former records the number of cases opened whilst the latter is used to analyse the raw figures by factoring in population numbers. To do so, it is internationally accepted to present crime data in ratios, usually per 100 000 population, which allows the levels of different crime categories to be compared across different areas, such as towns or provinces, and different years in which population totals vary.
The national crime statistics for the past twelve months from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014 depicts yet another challenging period in our effort to fight serious crime in that, when compared to the previous corresponding year, the total number of cases registered from the 17 serious crimes reported by the community reduced marginally by 0,04%, to 1 826 967 or 6 808 less cases reported.
In terms of the three crime types which are supposed to increase as a result of police action, the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition continued its steady increase by 3.7% from 14 872 to 15 420 during the period under review. Possession and dealing in drugs rose by 26,1% from 206 825 to 260 732, whilst driving under influence of alcohol or drugs declined marginally by 1,8% to 69 757 cases from 71 065 during the same period.
This report discusses the following broad crime types:
Contact Crime (Murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault with intention to inflict grievous bodily harm, common assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances and common robbery);
Reduced by 26.8% over 10 years (2004/05-2013/14) by 226 900 cases to 620 366
Reduced by 8.3% during the past 5 years (2009/10-2013/14) by 56 079 cases to 620 366
Increased by 0.5% during the past financial year (2013/14) by 3 127 cases to 620 366
Contact-related crime (arson and malicious damage to property);
Reduced by 21.0% over 10 years (2004/05-2013/14) by 33 425 cases to 125 544
Reduced by 9.6% during the past 5 years (2009/10-2013/14) by 13 291 cases to 125 544
Reduced by 1.3% during the past financial year (2013/14) by 1 633 case to 125 544
Property-related crime (housebreaking residential, housebreaking other premises, theft of motor vehicle/cycle, stock theft, theft out of and from motor vehicle)
Reduced by 5.8% over 10 years (2004/05-2013/14) by 34 488 cases to 562 768
Increased by 1.7% during the past 5 years (2009/10-2013/14) by 9 400 cases to 562 768
Reduced by 0.2% during the past financial year (2013/14) by 897 cases to 562 768
Other serious crime (ordinary theft, fraud-related and shoplifting);
Reduced by 21.1% over 10 years (2004/05-2013/14) by to 138 448 cases to 518 289
Reduced by 4.2% during the past 5 years (2009/10-2013/14) by 115 819 cases to 518 289
Reduced by 1.4% during the past financial year (2013/14) by 131 043 cases to 518 289
Management of the SAPS is concerned about Contact Crime in particular murder, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. These crimes are very stubborn and extremely difficult to police as a significant majority takes place between people who know each other.
Two key interventions we intend to intensify is police visibility and enhancing efforts to reduce the circulation of illegal firearms, as well as to raise awareness about underlying socio-economic contributors which lead to an increase in contact crime.
Furthermore, the National Commissioner has also issued an instruction that the top 300 syndicates and wanted suspects in the country be identified; and that Crime Intelligence works together with the detectives and the Hawks to go after these syndicates operating in terms of serious crimes such as drugs, cash in transit, human trafficking, money laundering, arms and ammunition. Through forensics, intelligence and docket analysis, we have drawn up a list of the 300 and we want them to know that, at any given time, the police can arrest them for their crimes.
What is also very clear is that, given the fact that criminal elements are desperate for cash, they would do everything possible to find a soft target. With technological improvements in the latest vehicles and cash-in-transit security innovations, and the clampdown on ATM bombings by the police, criminals are resorting to other soft targets. The theft of vehicles, which are often either sold or used to commit other crimes, small but valuable items such as cellphones, jewellery, ipads and laptops thus becomes a matter of concern. This is because if they struggle to find real cash, they will find other items which they can convert into quick cash. They either sell these to pawn shops or to people in our neighbouring countries.
We had gotten to a point where bank robberies had declined to 7 incidents in a year, but now there is a worrying growth to 21 incidents. This represents a 200% increase, albeit off an extremely low base.
In instances such as these, intelligence and close collaboration with stakeholders such as SABRIC, Business Against Crime and security companies, play an extremely important role. We have been able to thwart many such robberies, such as the recent cash in transit robbery attempt in Welkom, and yesterday's foiled bank robbery in Klerksdorp.
Much emphasis has been placed on robberies at shopping centres, which has seen an increase over the past few weeks, particularly in Gauteng. There have been some breakthroughs and the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner has implemented a plan to thwart this crime trend. We will work closely with the consumer goods environment and mall management, but also call on mall management to closely scrutinize their security measures and possible collusion between employees, private security and those perpetrating these crimes.
Murder rose by 5 per cent or 809 cases to 17 068. Related to this, aggravated robbery rose by 12,7% to 119 351 cases.
There are various contributors to the increase in murders, such as the violent nature of crimes committed particularly through gangsterism in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, taxi violence, faction fights in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Other causes relate to the abuse of alcohol and drugs.
We have also implemented various province-specific operations to thwart gangsterism, organised crime and instability, such as Operation Coastal Dragon in the Eastern Cape, Operation Combat in the Western Cape.
Operation Coastal Dragon in the Mount Road and Motherwell Clusters, is yielding positive results. Police officers from the National Intervention Unit and Public Order Policing from KwaZulu Natal, Head Office and other parts have been deployed in the Motherwell and Mount Road Clusters from 1 August 2014 to date. These members have been deployed at identified hot spots and execute, together with the local police officials, operational plans put together by the Province, to deal specifically with Trio Crimes (murder, robbery and car hijacking) in the Motherwell Cluster and gang related violence in the Mount Road Cluster.
Since the deployment, about 312 suspects have been arrested for crimes ranging from murder, possession of stolen vehicles, possession of drugs, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition to crimes with light intensity like drinking and driving, breaking traffic rules, possession of dangerous weapons and public disorder under the influence of liquor. These cases are scattered across different stations in the two Clusters.
The members also confiscated 2 stolen vehicles, 2 firearms and 171 rounds of ammunition, 161 mandrax tablets and small amounts of mandrax powder and tik and dagga with an estimated street value of R135 000. 00. Fines to the value of R5 000.00 were issued.
The dedicated Gang Task Team also continues to make inroads in the fight against gangsterism. So far, 279 arrests have been made in the 211 cases they are investigating. The arrests include 133 arrests for attempted murder, 60 arrests for murder, 38 arrests for possession of firearms and ammunition, 9 for dealing in and possession of drugs, and 39 for other cases.
The operation is still in full swing and expected to continue yielding good results.
Lieutenant General SM Makgale
Tel: +27 12 393 2940/ 2630
Cell: +27 82 781 8863
Issued by: South African Police Service