Crime Stats: No good news expected
Durban - WITH the much anticipated SAPS crime statistics set to be released on Friday, academics and community police forums were not expecting good news in the crime that has become part of the average South African’s life, despite lockdown.
Dr Johan Burger, a policing expert at the Institute for Security Studies, said people should not expect a huge drop as the figures would not factor in crime during the lockdown.
He said the lockdown came at the end of March, and those few days of the lockdown would make little difference.
Today’s statistics cover the period from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.
Burger expected to see the continued increase in the numbers of serious and violent crimes. “In fact, I am expecting more of the same,” he said.
“Figures for crimes such as murder and aggravated robbery were reliable as those crimes were hard to cover-up by their nature. It was crimes like assault and sexual offences that were less reported on because people did not trust the police.”
Burger said the involvement of Statistics South Africa helped with the reliability of the numbers and did not give the police an opportunity to massage the numbers.
With the economy taking a downturn and massive job losses suffered, South Africa would take years to recover, and he predicted there would be an increase in crimes driven by economic conditions.
Phoenix Community Police Forum chairperson Umesh Singh said: “The statistics will be pretty much in line with previous years. If anything, there would be a slight improvement.”
He said if there was an increase in crime, people should not be alarmed as the CPF had been encouraging them to report crimes.
Singh said that over the past year he had seen an increase in the number of hijackings and house robberies.
Last year, the Daily News reported an increase in crime statistics in the province, particularly for rape, house robberies and hijackings.
Murders went up from 4 382 in 2017/2018 to 4 395 in the 2018/2019 reporting period. Rape cases increased from 7243 to 7667 in the corresponding periods, with hijackings going from 2698 to 2764 in the same period.
Singh said the economic situation was becoming tougher, and people were becoming more desperate and would turn to alcohol, which fuelled crimes such as domestic violence and sexual violence.
“We anticipate cases of sexual violence increasing,” said the Commission for Gender Equality’s spokesperson, Javu Baloyi.
He said this was because many people who committed these crimes were not being punished and sometimes were being handed lenient sentences.
He cited the example of regional magistrate Kholeka Bodlani, who was suspended and her fitness for office called into question for alleged lenient sentences against sexual assault perpetrators.
Last year, the Daily News reported that Inanda had the highest number of rape cases in the country with 278 in 2017/2018, and 338 in 2018/2019 - a spike of 60 cases.
“In KZN, Limpopo and Mpumalanga there were serious cases of under-reporting of rape cases,” Baloyi said.