Crime statistics 19/20: MEC Fritz welcomes the release of quarterly statistics
Today, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, presented the country and province’s annual crime statistics for the period of 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.
Minister Fritz has noted that there have been increases in crime categories including sexual offences (3.7%), which includes rape (4.9%) and sexual assault (8.7%), common robbery (0.2%), robbery with aggravating circumstances (2.0%), carjacking (20.3%) and truck hijackings (10.3%). Additionally, the ability of police to detect illegal possession of firearms and ammunition (6.0%), drug related crime (22.9%) and sexual offences (2.4%) have decreased.
Minister Fritz said, “Key to our province’s efforts of reducing crime is the ability to deploy safety resources where and when they are needed most. Sadly, some of the statistics released today are over 12 months old, which impacts negatively on our ability to respond to changes in crime patterns. Under the lockdown, the criminal landscape has changed drastically and therefore the statistics provided are largely unhelpful.”
Minister Fritz continued, “I welcome Minister Cele’s commitment 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 to utilize our resources.”
Murder and attempted:
The number of murders in 2019/20 are the highest in ten years, sitting at 3975 as compared to 2308 in 2010/11. This is a nearly 50% increase in murders over this period.
However, as compared to the previous year, the figures have stabilized. This could be attributed to the deployment of the SANDF on 19 July 2019 which focused on selected police stations in the Western Cape with high rates of violence and which were considered murder hotspots.
Minister Fritz said, “Over this period, the Department used the Forensic Pathology Service’s alleged murder statistics to monitor homicides at stations where Operation Lockdown was active. There was a steep increase in murders prior to Operation Lockdown, and a slight decline during suggesting that Operation Lockdown might have reduced homicide numbers in the police stations where the operation took place.”
Minister Fritz continued, “Over the 2019/20 period, there were 3555 attempted murders, a decrease of 7.9% from the previous year. Overall, there was a 15.8% reduction in attempted murders across the 11 priority areas. While I welcome this decrease, the number of attempted murders in the province remains too high.”
Of the top 30 stations for reporting murder, 10 precincts are in the Western Cape and account for 42.7% of murders in the province. Of the 10, 9 are located within the Cape Flats and include Delft, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Mfuleni, Harare, Gugulethu, Philippi East, Mitchells Plain and Samora Machel.
Minister Fritz said, “I welcome the significant decrease in murders reported in Nyanga (36%), Philippi East (15.7%) and Mitchells Plain (22.3%). However, the 253.3% increase in murders in Samora Machel is of grave concern and requires urgent attention from the SAPS in the Western Cape.”
Gang related crime:
A significant social ill which plagues this province, more so than others, is the prevalence of gangs and gangsterism. Gangs are attributed with being the causative factor throughout the country in:
- 40 cases of common assault;
- 97 cases of assault with gross bodily harm (GBH);
- 1248 cases of attempted murder; and
- 905 of murders.
Minister Fritz said, “The Western Cape Government is investigating a number of programmes to prevent violence in our society. This is essential in our fight against gangsterism and addressing the culture of violence which permeates every facet of our lives in the Western Cape.”
Gender based Violence (GBV) and Domestic Violence (DV):
Overall, the number of cases of sexual offences have increased by 3.7% from 2018/19. The number of cases of rape has increased by 4.9% and the number of cases of sexual assault has increased by 8.7%.
While there has been a decrease in reports of attempted sexual offences (19.6%) and contact sexual offences (18.2%), police precincts within the Western Cape account for 17 of the 30 top stations where sexual assault is reported. There were increases in reported cases of sexual assault at Mitchells Plain (25.8%), Delft (31.7%), Lentegeur (32.1%), Milnerton (61.9%) and Worcester (66.7%).
In South Africa, DV has been the causative factor in:
- 21 344 cases of common assault;
- 14 907 cases of assault GBH;
- 923 cases of attempted murder; and
- 1482 cases of murder.
Minister Fritz said, “As the Minister of Community Safety, I will support the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, who is the lead Minister in fighting GBV. I am pioneering the following programmes to address the prevalence of GBV and DV in our province:
- Creating a guide and disseminating information on how to get a protection order;
- Tasking a full-time official within Court Watching Brief Unit to monitor GBV and DV related cases;
- Establishing a campaign to increase and train volunteers at victim support rooms; and
- Conducting monitoring and evaluation and provide related assistance to SAPS in terms of compliance with the Domestic Violence Act.”
The National Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, announced that throughout South Africa, incidents on farms increased from 41 in 2018/19 to 46 in 2019/20 and murders from 47 to 49
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. We must prioritise the safety of all in our rural communities.”
Western Cape Safety Plan:
Minister Fritz said, “The Western Cape Government’s top priority is to create a safe and prosperous province for all our residents, and this 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.”
Minister Fritz said, “I again wish to welcome the decision to issue quarterly crime statistics. During the lockdown we saw a decrease in murders and simultaneously an increase in other crime categories. In recent weeks, we have seen numerous protests in which there were land invasions, destruction of property, tire burning, barricading of roads and petrol bombings. I wish to reiterate that these acts are criminal and that SAPS has a role to play in preventing and putting a stop to violent protest action. While the statistics released today do not speak to these crimes, future statistics will reveal the impact of both the lockdown and Western Cape Safety Plan on crime in the province.”