Durban - Police on Tuesday reported a staggering 11% increase in the number women killed in the year to end March 2018, with 20% more boys (under 18) murdered compared to the previous 12 months. The killing of girls (under 18) was up more than 10%.
KZN tops the list for violence against women and children. In the province alone, some 886 were killed made up of 665 women, 130 boys and 91 girls during the reporting period. This equates to 20% of the murders committed in the province.
The Eastern Cape followed KZN, with the deaths of some 730 women and children, followed by Gauteng with 657 and the Western Cape with 649.
Crimes against women were up 11% with 2 930 killed. All sexual offences were slightly down by 1.7% for a total of 36 731 cases, while attempted murder was up 6.7%, assault with intent by 2.5% and common assault by 4%.
KZN was second in the list of sexual offences with figures up 3.2% from last year to 8759 cases , behind Gauteng's 10116. Inanda topped the stations for the worst record of sexual crimes with 330 cases while Umlazi was third in the country with 290. The Western Cape's Nyanga precinct recorded 308.
KZN was also second in the rape table with figures up 3% to 7243 behind Gauteng's 8062. Again Inanda topped the table as the precinct with the most rapes reported with 278. Umlazi was next at 252 while Empangeni in northern KZN came in at nine on the table with 186 registered cases.
Murder was up 6,9% in SA overall, the sixth consecutive annual increase.
In the crimes committed against children, murder was up 17,4% with 985 killed. Sexual offences decreased by -4,8%, while attempted murder increased by 13,1%. Assault with intent and common assault decreased by 0,3% and 1,6% respectively.
In terms of crimes related to domestic abuse, the majority related to physical abuse with 762 cases or 67.3%. Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse accounted for 220 cases or 19.4%, damage to property 193 cases or 17%, economic abuse was at 140 cases or 12.4%, intimidation 96 cases or 8.5% and sexual abuse 31 cases or 2.7%. There were 21 cases of the unauthorised entry into the victim's residence, and 13 cases of stalking.
The Institute for Security Studies expressed concern that the crime statistics show SA has an average of 56 murders every day.
It said the additional 1 320 murders compared to 2016/17 were alarming, but said 42% (549) of these killings were attributed to just 30 police stations in SA. This should make it possible for police to reduce the killings by targeting resources in murder hotspots, the institute said.
“Murder is a localised phenomenon which police would be able to tackle by focusing on the worst affected areas,” said ISS justice and violence prevention head Gareth Newham.
The ISS welcomed SAPS’ frank reporting of murder and Police Minister Bheki Cele’s willingness to recognise the crisis.
More research is needed into why there was a slight reported decrease in other violent crimes such as assault (down 1,9%) or armed robbery (down 1,8%), as these are the crimes that often lead to murder.
These decreases could indicate reduced reporting of assault and armed robbery in SA, or that other factors such as political killings, gang warfare, vigilantism and taxi violence were driving up the murder rate.
“We welcome the fresh approach of the Police Minister and top leadership of the SAPS to the annual crime statistics,” Newham said. “It was very useful that police provided a breakdown in murders by age and gender and the types of weapons used.”
Crime statistics for 2017/18 were revealed in a way that demonstrated the police were taking murders and robberies seriously, understand the importance of detailed data in the fight against crime, and are willing to adopt new strategies and tactics to tackle these crimes, Newham said.