SA sees increase in contact crimes

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pretoria - Although contact crimes have decreased by 17.6 % over the last ten years, there has been an increase of 0.9 % in the 2014/15 financial year, according to national crime statistics released on Tuesday.

Contact crimes, which includes murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances – are crimes where police arrive at the scene after the incident.

Data shows that there were a total of 616973 contact crimes reported. This is up by 5399 from the 2013/14 reporting year.

Addressing the Police Portfolio Committee in Parliament, National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, said contact crimes accounted for about 34.4% of all the reported crimes in the 2014/15 financial year which covers the 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 reporting period.

In the contact-related crimes category, which includes arson and malicious injury to property, the stats revealed that there was also an increase of 1.9 %.

Property related crimes, which includes burglary at non-residential or non-residential premises, theft of motor vehicles and stock theft, saw a downward trend decreasing by 0.8 percent to 553487 reported cases nationally.

There was also a decrease in other serious crimes such as commercial crime and shoplifting which dropped from 510748 in 2013/14 to 499698 in 2014/ 15 reporting period.

But car hijackings increased by 14.2 %, which is up from almost 1593 reported cases in the 2013/14 financial year. Truck hijacking also jumped by 29.1% to 1279 in the period under review.  

Robberies at residential premises also increased by 5.2 % to 20281.

But police seem to be winning the war against bank robberies and cash in transit heists. South Africa only saw about 17 bank robberies – there were 21 previously - while there were only 119 robberies of cash in transit vehicles which is down from 145 in the previous financial year.

The total number of sexual offences incidents dropped by 5 % to 53617 incidents, this includes violent sexual offences such as rape.

Police in South Africa are responsible for a population of over 54 million and the distribution population ratio stands at one officer to 358 citizens.

According to Police Minster Nathi Nhleko, over 80% of the entire country’s crime statistics are community reported. This means that someone walked into a police station and reported the crime.

He raised the concern of an “influx of undocumented foreign nationals” which remained a serious issue.

He told the committee members that there seemed to be a spike in certain crimes in the areas where there was a large number of these individuals.

Another concern he raised was the high levels of violence and aggression in society, socio-economic inequality and the prevalence of illegal firearms as contributing factors in the levels of crime in the country. - SAnews.gov.za

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