Violent crimes decreased between April and June this year, compared to the previous three months.
However, the killing of women and police officers increased compared to the previous year.
Police Minister Bheki Cele and the police’s top brass presented the crime statistics for the first quarter of the 2023-’24 financial year to the Portfolio Committee on Police on Friday morning.
Cele said there seemed to be “green shoots” and that it “looks like they are turning the tide”.
But he added: “That does not put us near the ideal place we are supposed to be.”
The police compared the statistics to the same quarter of the previous financial year. Only the figures for murder and sexual offences showed a decrease when compared to the same period the previous year.
Murder was down by 3.1%, meaning that 6 228 cases were reported between April and June, which is 196 less than the 6 424 in the same quarter the previous year.
Sexual offences were down by 2% which, at 11 616 cases, is 239 less than the 11 855 in the same quarter the previous year.
Other crimes in the contact crime category rose, and overall contact crimes increased by 4.8%
Attempted murder increased by 393 cases to 5 969 from the previous year’s 5 576 – an increase of 7%.
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm increased by 8.2% to 37 491, compared to the previous year’s 34 635 for the same quarter. On the other hand, common assault increased by 8.2%, or 2 856 cases, to 37 491 from the previous year’s 34 635.
Common robbery increased by 839 cases, or 7.9%, to 11 404 compared to the previous quarter’s 10 565.
Robbery with aggravating circumstances rose by 1%, or 346 cases, to 35 579, compared to the previous year’s 35 233.
However, the statistics also showed a decrease in all of these categories, apart from robbery with aggravating circumstances, when compared to the previous quarter, January to March.
During that period, the following figures were recorded:
Murder: 6 289
Sexual offences: 13 205
Attempted murders: 6 192
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm: 43 090
Common assault: 49 226
Common robbery: 11 744
Robbery with aggravating circumstances: 34 460
However, the murder of women and children increased.
Between April and June this year, 895 women were murdered, 40 more than the same quarter the previous year, while the number stands at 293 for children, 50 more than the previous year.
There were 1 417 attempts to murder women, 238 more than the previous year, and 354 for children, 47 more than the previous year.
During those three months, 12 872 cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm to women were recorded, 1 138 more than the previous year. There are 92 fewer of these cases relating to children, with 1 432 cases recorded compared to the previous year’s 1 524.
Also, during this period, 31 police officers were murdered, compared to 18 the previous year.
DA MP Andrew Whitfield highlighted that there had been a police killing once every three days in the last quarter.
This is an indicator of a society that no longer respects the rule of law.
“And I just want to pay my condolences to the families of those officers and the senior management of SAPS.”
Whitfield said authorities need to acknowledge there is “an attack on the state from violent criminals and, obviously, on the citizens of the country”.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe was also concerned about the increase in police murders and said Whitfield was correct that “we live in a country where lawlessness is becoming the norm”.
IFP MP Zandile Majozi said the police murders were “very alarming”. She and Meshoe wanted to know the cause of the murders and where they had taken place.
National police commissioner Fannie Masemola said the motive for police killings varied as some were killed while off duty and others when they were on duty.
Generally, they are killed “for their work”, he added.
Hawks head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya said during the period under review, 24 people were arrested for killing police officers, and added that their matters were on the court roll. He, too, said the reasons for police killings varied.
Cele said they were looking into police killings.
Those that are doing their work, they will be silenced by the criminals.
The committee will have another engagement with the police at a later date, where the statistics will be dealt with in more detail.
Source : News24