The South African Police Service releases crime statistics : April to December 2016

Cape Town, Friday 3 March 2017: The Department of Police, led by the Minister of Police and the Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, today presented quarterly crime statistics to the Portfolio Committee on Police. These statistics reflect on the period 1 April to 31 December 2016 and are compared with the same period in 2015.

The presentation covered the following:

* 17 community-reported serious crimes
* Four crimes detected as a result of police action.

The 17 community-reported serious crimes are grouped in four broad categories, namely Contact Crime, Contact-related Crime, Property-related crime and other serious crime.

Contact crime refers to those crimes in which the victims are the targets of violence, or property is targeted and the victims in the vicinity are subjected to threats of violence or the use of violence during the commission of the crime. The following are regarded as contact crimes:

* Murder
* Sexual offences
* Attempted murder
* Assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm
* Common assault
* Common robbery
* Robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Contact-related crimes include arson and malicious damage to property. These two crimes are closely related and involve the damage to or destruction of the property of another (often in order to punish such person or an entity) – or to damage one’s own property for the purpose of insurance claims:

* Arson
* Malicious damage to property.

Property-related crime refers to crimes during which tangible property of an individual or institution is taken by criminal elements without permission and in the absence of the owner or custodian. The following crimes are reported on:

* Burglary at residential premises
* Burglary at non-residential premises
* Theft of motor vehicle and motor cycle
* Theft out of or from motor vehicle
* Stock theft.

Other serious crimes include all serious crimes not mentioned in other categories:

* All theft not mentioned elsewhere
* Commercial Crime
* Shoplifting.

The South African Police Service is pleased to advise that all four of the broad crime categories under which the 17 community-reported serious crimes resort showed a decrease over the nine month period of the report, April to December 2016 as follows:

* Contact crimes decreased by 1.9%
* Contact-related crimes decreased by 2.6%
* Property-related crimes decreased by 0.2%
* Other serious crime decreased by 2.4%.

The breakdown of the statistics under contact crimes:

* Murder decreased by 0.1%
* Sexual offences decreased by 6.3%
* Attempted murder decreased by 0.8%
* Assault GBH decreased by 5.6%
* Assault common decreased by 3.7%
* Common robbery decreased by 0.7%
* Robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 6.1%

In terms of robbery with aggravating circumstances, we have further broken the offences down to focus on carjackings, house robberies (robbery at residential premises) and business robberies (robbery at non-residential premises). These are known as the “trio crimes”:

* Carjackings increased by 14.9%
* Robbery at residential premises increased by 5.3%
* Robbery at non-residential premises increased by 6.5%

The breakdown of statistics under contact-related crimes:

* Arson decreased by 10.2%
* Malicious damage to property decreased by 2.3%.

The breakdown of statistics under property-related crimes:

* Burglary at non-residential premises increased by 1.2%
* Burglary at residential premises decreased by 0.6%
* Theft of motor vehicles and motor cycles decreased by 0.8%
* Theft out of or from motor vehicles decreased 0.6%
* Stock theft increased by 2%

The breakdown of statistics under other serious crimes:

* All theft not mentioned elsewhere decreased by 3.5%
* Commercial crime increased by 1.7%
* Shoplifting decreased by 1.1%

Crimes detected as a result of police action are usually not reported to the police but largely detected as a result of the deployment of law enforcement personnel and the employment of intelligence. The crime is usually recorded after the apprehension of suspects in connection with the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, drug-related crimes, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and sexual offences detected as a result of police action. These crimes are typically expected to increase:

* Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition increased by 4.3%
* Drug-related crime increased by 11%
* Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increased by 2.3%
* Sexual offences detected as a result of police action increased by 11.6%

The Acting National Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane, told the Portfolio Committee on Police that although there had been an encouraging downward trend in most crime categories, the police would not be complacent.

“We thank all members of the South African Police Service who have worked diligently to bring about a reduction in most crime trends, especially over the festive season when we notably heightened law enforcement visibility,” said Lt Gen Phahlane.

“We also extend our appreciation to the community members who have supported us or participated in some way in the fight against crime. The South African Police Service will enhance its efforts to reach out and engage with communities across South Africa,” he said in Cape Town today.

The Acting National Commissioner also advised that the department is concerned about the continued increase in the trio crimes. He said that this will be thoroughly discussed at an upcoming strategic planning session involving all commanders and senior managers from national and provincial level.