South African Crime Statistics Show Murder, Robbery Up, Sexual Offenses Down

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A Gloomy Report

South African Police commissioner Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko presented the latest national crime statistics to Parliament, and their report is largely gloomy. A quick run down shows:

2015 Crime Statics

  • Murder was up 4.6% in the 2014/15 financial year from 2013/14

  • Attempted murder showed a 3.2% increase

  • Robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 8.5%

  • Common robbery went up by 2.7%

On The Positive Side:

  • House burglaries were down 2.3%

  • Sexual offenses decreased by 5.4%

  • Common assault decreased by 2.8%

However, the clouds far outweighed the silver linings. There are 49 people murdered each day in South Africa, and 353 robberies with aggravating circumstances (violence usually) in a nation of just under 53 million. By comparison, Inquisitr.com says “Approximately 33 per 100,000 South Africans were murdered compared to 4.5 per 100,000 in the United States,” roughly nine times the American rate.

The Intense Parliament Debate

Since the report was heard in Parliament, the statistics became political footballs.. Minister Nhleko defended the police by saying “We are dealing with the social circumstance of society. It’s not just simply about numbers. The numbers are also reflective of the state of society. To think that we can resolve the issue of murder, and we think that the police must resolve that, it’s just hallucination. It’s a social problem.” He added “The causal link between the commission of crime and drug and alcohol abuse continues to be a standing feature in driving up levels of crime.”

The ruling African National Congress added in a statement from parliamentary chief whip Stone Sizani, “These stubborn forms of crime require concerted multi-pronged interventions, which must include joint efforts by all stakeholders, to radically turn the situation around,” Sizani said in a statement. “Violent attacks against our people, including killings of police officers, must be fought fiercely and aggressively as part of our endeavors to build safer communities,” he added.

Violent attacks against our people, including killings of police officers, must be fought fiercely and aggressively as part of our endeavors to build safer communities,” – Stone Sizani The Chief Whip of the ruling party 

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Violent protests erupt in Cape Town-Image Source: The guardian

Opposition Democratic Alliance member Diane Kohler Barnard stated, “Our South African Police Service remains politically and operationally rudderless. Forty-nine South Africans are murdered in this country each and every day. This number of deaths is what one would expect from a country at war.” She went on to add that the number of rapes reported was down, not because there were fewer crimes, but rather because the victims do not trust the police.

Chandre Gould, a senior research fellow at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies said, “There are no clear indications that we are making progress in reducing serious violent crime. We still lack a detailed and clear crime-prevention strategy that cuts across all government departments and draws on hard evidence to ascertain what works to prevent violence.”

There are no clear indications that we are making progress in reducing serious violent crime” -Dennis Bloem South African Congressman

Dennis Bloem, party whip for the Congress of the People bloc (which split from the ANC in 2008) in parliament, said, “South Africans, under the present circumstances, are petrified of break-ins and home robberies. Murder and attempted murder are dominant features in contact crimes. Furthermore, gangs remain intact and in business.” He added in his statement, “Cope is adamant: Fix the townships and crime will start to fix itself.”


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