#CrimeStats - Domestic violence + alcohol = murder
Parliament - The national murder rate has increased by 4.9 percent with most crimes being committed indoors, accompanied by domestic violence and with perpetrators under the influence of alcohol.
National crime statistics show that the national murder rate is now 34 per 100 000, which is an increase from 33 per 100 000 last year.
Crime research and statistics head Major General Norman Sekhukhune presented the April 2015 to March 2016 crime statistics to Parliament’s police portfolio committee on Friday.
The only province which had seen a decrease in the murder rate was the Northern Cape.
“The rest of the provinces have shown increases ranging from 1.3 percent to 15.6 percent observed in Limpopo,” said Sekhukhune.
“It still seems to be a problematic crime we are facing,” said Sekhukhune who also pointed out that the onus was on society to assist police in reporting crime and being proactive in combating criminal activity.
Attempting to explain the phenomenon of contact crimes - which include murder, attempted murder and robbery - Sekhukhune said: “There is an issue when multiple murders happened in one situation. In one case where seven people were killed in one instance of domestic violence... We find that a fifth of these cases happened in a victim’s home. Both victims and perpetrators of violent crime are often found to have consumed alcohol before or at the time of the crimes.”
Attempted murders nationally were up by 3.4%, while assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) was up slightly by 0.2%.
The so-called trio crimes (house robberies, business robberies and carjackings) increased by 0.2 percent. House robberies increased by 2.7 percent, with the Western Cape contributing significantly to this figure with a 19.3 percent rise in this crime in the province. Business robberies rose by 2.8 percent compared to the 2014/15 stats, while car hijackings increased by 14.3 percent.
In their crime statistics this year, police covered four broad categories:
* contact crimes
* property-related crimes
* other serious crime
* crimes heavily dependent on police action for detection
Sekhukhune said a total of 2.1 million charges were recorded this financial year with 1.7 million serious crimes reported which made up 83 percent of the crime statistics.
The reporting of sexual offences has also decreased by 3.2 percent this year.
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said South Africa was experiencing a decrease in incidence of crime in three of the four broad categories with the exception of the contact crime category - which includes murder, sexual offences, attempted murder, assault GBH, common assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
“If you go into the further and deeper analysis... it actually talks to the social fabric of our society... the patterns of social behaviour. What that then says is that we as a society will have to put up quite an effort to deal with social foundations of the contact crime category. How do we begin to expunge and eradicate some of the inimical behaviors that we have within our society?” said Nhleko.
Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane echoed this, saying the downward trend suggested their efforts were making a serious dent in crime
Gareth Newham, head of governance, crime and justice division at the Institute for Security Studies, said the most important trend was murder and it indicated the violence within society.
“With murder going up, it shows that there is more violence in our society. What we have seen is in the last 20 years, is that murder has decreased by 50 percent since apartheid ended. But, in the last three years, since 2012, murder started to rise again (and again this year). Police are unable to keep up with the high murder rate because most violent crime happens on private property. The public needs to think more proactively in combating crime,” Newham said.
He said aggravated robbery, robbery and carjacking are making South Africans feel unsafe in their country. “It is worrying that these two key factors have gone up, it really undermines people’s sense of safety.”
Cape Argus and African News Agency