SA's murder rate declines, since COVID-19 pandemic

South Africa recorded, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, a decrease in the number of reported cases of murder and sexual offences.

PICTURE: Pixabay

Police Minister Bheki Cele released the crime statistics on Friday, which cover crimes that were reported in the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, between April and June 2023.

‘’The crime statistics give us a sober assessment of the state of crime in the country and the progress made by law enforcement to safeguard this nation and its people. We have analysed these recent figures and this Ministry remains persuaded, that the decision to aggressively and strategically confront crime, was the right one,’’ said Police Minister, Bheki Cele.

‘’This aggressive approach I am referring to, entails intensified policing operations to prevent and combat crime during high-density operations in all provinces. While there are still unacceptably high crime levels, Police are pushing back on crime, especially violent crime, which is starting to show some decreases,’’ he added.

PICTURE - SA Gov.: Police Minister, Bheki Cele, releasing the latest crime stats

6 228 counts of murders were recorded between April and June 2023. This is 196 less people killed compared to the same time last year.

Now the crime stats are compared on a year-to-year basis, but if we compare it to the first three months of 2023, 61 less murders were recorded, but 12 and a half thousand murders for the first six months are still a concern.

Police minister, Bheki Cele, said out of the 6 228 people killed during April to June, 1 188 were women and children.

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

Cele said firearms, knives and sharp instruments remain the top  three weapons of choice for murder. Majority of the people murdered during this period were killed either during an argument, an act of vigilantism or their lives were cut short while being robbed.

‘’Of course the 3.1% decline in the murder rate is no cause for celebration. 6 228 is not just a number. It is people whose lives were cut short at the hands of another. The 3.1% reduction in the country's murder rate must, however, further bolster all policing interventions that have led to less people being killed in our country,’’ said Cele.

Apart from the drop in murder counts, notable decreases in other crime categories includes sexual offences by 1.9%, TRIO crimes, such as carjacking, robbery at non residential and reasidential premises, declined by 5.2%, 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 assaults counts reported to the police, in the three months of reporting.

Both crime categories recorded 2.8% and 3.8% decreases respectively.

Statistics also show that police are making inroads in upscaling the protection of people’s properties.

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.

‘’While ALL crimes have an impact on ordinary South Africans, It is motivating that we are starting to see decreases in crimes that instill fear amongst the people of this country,’’ said Police Minister, Bheki Cele.

Cele further revealed that there has been less counts of contact-related crimes, particularly common and street robberies as well as hijackings which declined by 6,4%.

There were over one thousand less counts of carjackings 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,’’ he said.

Cele contributed the decline in crime stats  to more police up scaling of visibility and operations targeting high crime areas. It is women’s month, and Cele said more needs to be done to protect woman nd and children


‘’The tracking and tracing of wanted suspects is also proving to be an effective tool. Serial offenders including serial rapists are being pursued and incarcerated. This is reflected in the decreases in rapes and other sexual offences. Despite these drops, we all can agree that the police together with society must do more to protect the country’s women and children.’’

The crime figures show that 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. It is on this score that we call on society not to look away. Fighting crime starts in the home.’’

Cele also gave an update on Operation Shanela.  The police operation, are weekly crime preventions through stop and searches, vehicle check points, roadblocks, cordon and searches among others. Since its inception of 8 May, 99 754 suspects were arrested for various crimes including murder, rape, assault and other serious charges.

‘’While it is early days, the effectiveness of the high-density operations are showing in the decline of these crime figures.  While the declines cannot all be attributable to Operation Shanela, its value and impact to the overall policing strategy is noticeable.

‘’Communities have so far welcomed the aggressive approach to crime and it is on this score, that the policing strategies that are leading us in the right direction will be intensified for more favourable results.  Mphakathi, Operation Shanela is here to stay! Provincial Commissioners are urged to continue to lead from the front. Work with your members on the ground and sweep clean all crime-ridden areas in your provinces,’’ added Cele.

Cele said the police ministry is concerned about the rate in which police officers are being killed in the line of duty in South Africa. 31 police officers were killed between April & June this year.

Here in Cape Town, most recently, 37-year-old LEAP officer, Toufeeq Williams was shot and killed in Beacon Valley in Mitchell’s Plain, in late July. A suspect has been arrested in this case. Meanwhile, no arrests has been made on connection with the murder of 32-year-old Zamikhaya Kwinana. The City of Cape Town has since offered a R1.35 million reward for the successful conviction

‘’The DPCI continues to arrest those who choose to undermine the state, by targeting police for their criminal gains. Through the diligent investigative work of the Directorate, nine convicted police killers were handed down 9 life imprisonment sentences and sum total of 158 years imprisonment. Far too many of our officers are also dying off duty.’’

‘’Commissioner, This must push you and your management team to double-up your efforts in the improvement of the wellness of officers. Police are assets of this nation and must be taken care of physically, mentally and psychologically; so they can serve their communities better,’’ added Cele.

Let’s hone in on the Western Cape, and Cape Town central, Mitchells Plain, and Mfuleni are the top three stations were community reported crimes were reported.

In terms of contact crime, and Nyanga, and Mfuleni, are in the second and 3rd place, nationally.

Delft,Gugulethu, and Harare Khayelitsha are where murders at these police stations were recoded

Delft was previously the murder capital of SA, but has moved down to 3rd place

Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Kraaiontein SAPS reported the most cases in the reported three months for rape

Western Cape’s Police Oversight & Community Safety MEC, Reagen Allen, will brief the media in the province, in due course for a more indepth look at the latest crime stats in the Western Cape.


For Bush Radio News, I’m Mitchum George


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