Police top brass say the positive picture painted by an overall decline in crime, notably contact crimes, should not lead to complacency, not least because car hijackings and robbery of premises had spiked.
“There is no reason for us to be complacent.
“We need to intensify more of our efforts to ensure that we do better,” Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said.
Nhleko made the comments when the SAPS presented their crime statistics for the period between April and December 2016 in Parliament.
The statistics showed there was an overall decline of 1.6 % in crime, which translates to a decrease of 7034 reported cases countrywide.
Free State led with a decrease of 6.5% followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 3.3% while the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga recorded increases of 1.2% and 2% respectively.
Brigadier Norman Sekhukhune, SAPS head of crime research and statistics, said contact crimes declined by 1.9%, contact related crimes by 2.6%, property related by 0.2% and other serious crimes by 2.4%.
Murder decreased by 0.1% and attempted murder went down by 0.8%. Assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm also decreased by 5.6%, while common assault decreased by 3.7%.
However, there was a sizable increase in robbery with aggravating circumstances - 6.1% (10 7445). Burglary at non-residential premises also grew by 1.2% (56 6461) and stock-theft by 2% (21 847).
Sekhukhune said also on the increase were commercial crimes with 54 442 cases reported between April and December compared to 53 536 in the previous year.
All the trio crimes - car hijacking and robbery at both residential and non-residential premises - were up by 8.2%, Sekhukhune said.
The biggest spike was with car hijacking which grew by 14.9%.
Recorded sexual offences declined in all provinces with rape down by 6.3%.
The statistics drew a mixed reaction from MPs.
“The fight against contact crimes and the trio crimes needs to be intensified so that we can see a better picture next time,” police portfolio committee chairman Francois Beukman said.
ANC MP Jerome Maake also noted that robbery with aggravating circumstances was on increase.
“Why in almost all provinces?” he asked.
Nhleko said the decrease in contact crimes should be welcomed.
“We should welcome that and I’m not saying we should celebrate. There is quite a lot of work to be done,” he said.