Quarterly Crime statistics 20/21: MEC Fritz welcomes 27.4% decrease in murders
Today, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, presented the crime statistics for the first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year, covering the period of April to June. Minister Fritz has welcomed this as it is the first-time that quarterly statistics have been provided and it shows significant decreases in numerous crime categories including murder and sexual offences.
Minister Fritz said, “I note that Minister Cele has heard the province’s call and committed to providing quarterly statistics. As the Western Cape Government, we have long requested these figures, which will provide safety stakeholders in the Western Cape with a better indication of how best to use our resources in a data-led and evidence-driven approach.”
Minister Fritz added, “I commend the coordinated and integrated efforts of the SAPS, SANDF and City of Cape Town’s law enforcement and Metro Police in working together during this period which collectively increased visibility in communities. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. At the same time, I welcome IPID’s investigations into cases of police brutality during the lockdown as this will ensure that the dignity of our residents is upheld.”
Minister Fritz continued, “The criminalisation of ordinary men and women who now hold criminal records because of breaking Covid-19 regulations is regrettable as the real criminals continue to terrorize our poor communities.”
Burglaries at non-residential premises
Overall, there were significant decreases in murder (27.4%), sexual offences (37.5%), attempted murder (7.8%), assault with gross bodily harm (GBH) (42.9%), robbery (51.1%) and carjacking (35%).
However, there were also increases in crime categories such as burglary at non-residential premises (8.2%) and stock theft (16.8%). This is in part attributed to the recent spate in violent protest action and lootings during the lockdown.
The closure of businesses, schools, coupled with the ban on alcohol sales, led to opportunistic crimes in these areas. The Western Cape (270) has experienced the highest number of burglaries at non-residential premises at liquor stores followed by Gauteng (228) and KwaZulu Natal (224). There was a total of 248 burglaries at schools in the province.
Minister Fritz said, “Public violence and lootings have no place in our province. I have recently met with the National Commissioner, Khehla Sitole. There were many positive solutions put forward to tackle the spate of violent protest that we have seen in the province which focused on intelligence gathering, resource deployment and ensuring that those responsible for destabilisation are brought to book.”
Murder and Attempted Murder
Nationally, murder has decreased by 35.8% from the previous year. In the Western Cape, the number of cases of murder in the first quarter of 2020/21 are the lowest in five years, as compared to previous quarters. During this period, there were 767 murders committed which is 27.4% lower compared to the same period last year (1056). Attempted murders have also declined by 7.8% (858 cases) which again is the lowest in five years. Nationally, attempted murders have declined by 23.8%.
Notably, public places and private residences were the places of occurrence where murder, attempted murder and assault GBH were most likely to occur across the country.
Murders in the 11 priority areas have almost all seen significant reductions. Reductions were seen in Delft (49.3%), Kraaifontein (35.1%), Mfuleni (56.5%), Khayelitsha (29.3%) and Harare (30%). However, during the period under review, Philippi East had an increase of 96.6% in murders as compared to previous quarter.
Minister Fritz said, “During the lockdown, my Department monitored the number of homicides. This demonstrated that at the beginning of the lockdown, the murder rate had been halved. However, as we moved into alert levels 4 and 3, the murder figures increased but then again slightly decreased as the ban on alcohol and the curfew was reinstituted.”
Minister Fritz continued, “These are not sustainable interventions as they have a major impact on our economy and contribute to unemployment in vulnerable communities. That is why I agree with Premier Winde that it is necessary that the unbanning of alcohol be accompanied with smart interventions which aim to reduce harms. A special task team has been established under my Department to pursue such smart interventions.”
Of the top 30 stations for reporting murder, 14 precincts (46.6%) are in the Western Cape and account for 55.8% (428 out of 767) of murders in the province. Of the 14, 13 are in the Cape Flats and include Mfuleni, Manenberg, Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Lentegeur, Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain, Ravensmead, Harare, Nyanga, Delft, Khayelitsha and Philippi East.
Gang related crime
A significant social ill which plagues this province, more so than others, is the prevalence of gangs and gangsterism.
Based on a docket analysis conducted by SAPS, in the cases where the circumstances of murder were known, it is reported that of the 63 gang-related murders in the country, 59 were in the Western Cape. Gangs are attributed with being the causative factor throughout the country in 59 cases of assault GBH and 59 cases of attempted murder.
Through monitoring the forensic data, the Department was made aware of the extent of firearm related murders during the lockdown period. However, firearm related offences decreased by 25% in the province and 21% nationally this period.
Gender based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) and Domestic Violence (DV)
Overall, the total number of cases of sexual offences have decreased by 37.5%. Nationally, there was a 40.4% decrease. The number of cases of rape have decreased by 36.1% and the number of cases of sexual assault have decreased by 42.45%. However, the number of sexual offences detected as a result of police action has decreased by 86.4%.
In Western Cape, DV has been the causative factor in:
- 1459 cases of common assault;
- 482 cases of assault GBH;
- 20 cases of attempted murder;
- 16 cases of murder; and
- 63 cases of rape.
Minister Fritz said, “As the Minister of Community Safety, I will support the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, who is leading the Western Cape Government’s response against GBVF. My Department will continue monitoring GBVF and DV related cases through the Court Watching Brief Unit and conducting monitoring and evaluation while providing related assistance to SAPS in terms of compliance with the Domestic Violence Act.”
In the Western Cape, there were no reported farm murders during the quarter and two during the previous period. Across the country, agricultural land featured as a place of occurrence in:
- 29 murders;
- 66 attempted murders; and
- 120 assault GBH.
Minister Fritz said, “I wish to state the importance of looking at farm murders holistically. Through the inter-ministerial committee on rural safety, our focus is not limited to attacks on farmers, but we also consider the impact of violence faced by farmers and agri-workers. I welcome the figures on agricultural land as a place of occurrence as this will assist us in our efforts.”
Western Cape Safety Plan
Minister Fritz said, “While the lockdown has no doubt played a significant role in the decrease of murders and crime all-round, so too has the deployment of the additional 500 law enforcement officers through the Western Cape Safety Plan in the 11 priority areas. We have seen decreases in almost all priority areas, and I wish to commend our LEAP officers on their sterling contributions. I also commend the coordinated and integrated efforts of the SAPS, SANDF and City of Cape Town’s law enforcement and Metro Police in working together during this period which collectively increased visibility in communities.”
Minister Fritz added, “In our efforts to make the province safer for all and ensure that crime categories do not increase again after the lockdown, the Western Cape Government will continue to drive programmes, through the Western Cape Safety Plan, which focus on building greater levels of social cohesion and solidarity in communities. We will do this by taking a whole of society approach which is implemented transversally, ensuring economic and social recovery from the effects of the lockdown.”
Minister Fritz continued, “The Western Cape Government’s top priority is to create a safe and prosperous province for all our residents and is why we launched the Western Cape Safety Plan at the end of last year. Our first tranche of 500 law enforcement officers were deployed in February this year, and I now look forward to receiving quarterly statistics which will assist us in our data-led and evidence-driven approach to halve the murder rate over the next ten years. If fully implemented in a good faith partnership with SAPS, it will significantly contribute towards reducing the murder rate and related crime categories.”
Attention broadcasters, please see English audio clips attached.
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray
Spokesperson for Minister Albert Fritz
Tel: 021 483 8550
Cell: 064 121 7959