Crime stats released: 'Serious dent' in crime, but murder goes up 4.9%

Khomotso Phahlane is standing in for Riah Phiyega, who was suspended pending an inquiry into her fitness to hold office. (Gallo)

Khomotso Phahlane is standing in for Riah Phiyega, who was suspended pending an inquiry into her fitness to hold office. (Gallo)

The downward trend in crime statistics shows police are making a serious dent in reducing crime, acting police commissioner Lt-Gen Khomotso Phahlane said on Friday.

“When we say that we have made progress, sometimes it is not convincing, especially when we talk of an area where lives have been lost,”’ he said ahead of presentation on the 2015/16 crime statistics on Friday.

“But the downward trend suggests our efforts are making a serious dent towards reducing crime,” he told the portfolio committee on police in Parliament.

“We are going to carry on turning the picture around,” he said. Co-operation from all sectors trying to prevent crime was very encouraging, he added. The results were endorsed by StatsSA. Phahlane is standing in for Riah Phiyega, who was suspended pending an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

Murder rate
The murder rate in South Africa increased by 4.9% for the period 2015/16, according to the latest crime statistics released on Friday. “It still seems to be a problematic crime that we are facing,” Major General Norman Sekhukhune, head of police crime research and statistics, told Parliament’s police portfolio committee.

Murders happened mostly indoors, among people known to each other. Alcohol abuse was prominent in such crimes.

The only province to have shown a decrease in the murder rate was the Northern Cape, with a drop of 9.9%.

Sexual offences decreased by 3.2%. Robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 2.7%, while common assault went up 2.2%.

Over 2-million charges laid with police in the last year
The majority of some 2 million charges laid at police stations in the last year were reported by the community, as opposed to being detected by police, Parliament heard.

Around 1.7 million charges (83%) were serious crimes reported by South Africans between April 2015 and March this year, crime research and statistics head Sekhukhune told Parliament´s police portfolio committee.

Police detected the remaining 17%.

Contact crimes (crimes against a person) constituted the most charges, at 35.2%.

This was followed by property-related crimes (30.7%), other serious crimes (27%) and contact-related crimes (7%).

Contact-related crimes were arson and malicious damage to property cases.

Sekhukhune said the overall analysis depicted notable progress in reducing community-reported crimes.

He confirmed the statistics report was quality assessed by the technical working team, composed of Stats SA and police members.

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