The number of contact crimes committed increases with each quarter and the crime figures in the second quarter are no exception.
In addition to murders and sexual offences, serious contact crimes, such as assault and attempted murder, increased again when compared to the statistics in the corresponding period last year.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the crime figures for the second quarter on Friday. Although he pointed out that homicide decreased by 0.8%, the statistics showed that overall contact crimes increased by 2.1%.
The number of cases of assault increased by 959 cases and cases of robbery by 443 compared to the statistics in the corresponding period last year.
Assault with intent to seriously injure rose by 2.5%, while attempted murder showed a solid rise of 12.3%.
These crimes mostly took place in Gauteng.
Between July and September, a total of 6,945 people were killed; this is 59 fewer people than in the first quarter. Of the people killed during this time, 881 were women and 293 were children.
A total of 35 police officers were also killed in this period, as well as 19 law enforcement officers attached to private security services and the national, provincial and local government.
Cele says that the slight decrease in the number of murders in the quarter is in no way considered a victory.
“The second consecutive drop in the country’s murder rate is in no way a claim to any victory by the South African Police Service (SAPS),” he said.
“Although it is decreasing in some areas, one murder is one too many.”
Cele says it was nevertheless encouraging to see that KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo recorded significant decreases in the murder rate.
There was a decrease of 13.7% and 11.2% respectively in murders in the respective provinces, which means that there were 254 fewer people murdered in KwaZulu-Natal and 30 fewer in Limpopo compared to the same period last year.
This despite the fact that KwaZulu-Natal has had several mass shooting incidents, in which three or more lives have been claimed at once.
“Although the Inanda and Umlazi police stations in KwaZulu-Natal still have the highest murder rate in the country, they nevertheless recorded a decrease in murders in this period.”
The Eastern and Northern Cape recorded slight decreases in the homicide rate. Compared to the murder rate, which is eight less in the Nood-Cape, it is only one in the Eastern Cape.
“These figures are also despite the fact that the Eastern Cape has recorded several shooting incidents, which were often fueled by drugs,” said Cele.
Five provinces, namely Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Western Cape, the Free State and North West all recorded more murders between July and September compared to the same time last year. The Western Cape had 114 more murders, followed by Gauteng which had 46 more.
According to the statistics, most people in South Africa are still killed during arguments and misunderstandings in social settings.
“Firearms, knives and sharp objects are often used as murder weapons in these cases,” says the minister.
Firearms were used in almost half of all murders in the second quarter, but Cele says the SAPS is busy removing one firearm after another from circulation. In this period, the police seized 2,175 illegal firearms.
According to the latest crime figures, there was a 1.5% drop in sexual offenses between July and September this year.
However, there were 10,516 rape incidents recorded at police stations across the country.
Almost half of all these cases took place at the victim’s home, or at that of the rapist. In most cases, the rapist was also known to the victim as a family member, family friend or neighbour.
The statistics indicate that in the second quarter there were also 61 rapes at primary and high schools, but that not all the victims were necessarily learners. The majority of cases (46) were indeed learners who raped other learners.
KwaZulu-Natal (2 127) remains a hotspot for rape, followed by Gauteng (2 096) and the Eastern Cape (1 655).
According to Cele, the police have made it a point to offer more support to rape victims. The historic backlog in DNA testing of 240,000 has also been addressed in the meantime.
“Forensic laboratories nationwide are in working condition and all the necessary contracts, which are crucial for the functioning of laboratories, are ready,” he said.