Johannesburg Metro Police. Picture: SUNDAY WORLD
Johannesburg Metro Police. Picture: SUNDAY WORLD

The number of murders in SA has climbed to the highest level in more than a decade as the SA Police Service struggle to get to grips with violent crime.

The number of homicides rose by 1.4% to 21,325 in the 12 months to end-March — an average of 58 a day — the police said in its annual crime statistics report. The murder rate of 36 per 100,000 people was little changed from the previous year and compares to an international average of seven per 100,000.

Violent crime is fueled by widespread alcohol and drug abuse, and perpetrators often know their victims, the police data shows. A lockdown imposed from the end of March to curb the spread of the coronavirus should have a positive effect on the current year’s statistics, with preliminary data showing it helped curtail homicides and other crimes.

The police and national prosecuting agencies saw an exodus of key personnel during former Jacob Zuma’s scandal-marred nine-year rule, undermining its ability to bring criminals to book. While President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that combating crime is one of his top priorities, his administration has struggled to rebuild the law-enforcement agencies.

Key statistics:

  • The number of sexual offences rose 1.7% to 53,293, while the number of attempted murders decreased 1.8% to 18,635.

  • Truck hijackings rose 1.7% while car hijackings increased 13.3%.

  • Commercial crimes rose 0.1%.

  • There were no bank robberies during the period under review, compared with four the year before.


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