Police Minister Bheki Cele and National police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole deliver the annual crime statistics. Picture: ANA

Pretoria - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) believes the rising murder rate in South Africa can be arrested if the South African Police Service channels considerable resources to particular affected areas and the police stations responsible for the lion's share in the additional 1 320 murders recorded in 2017/18 statistics. 

Figures released in Cape Town by Police Minister Bheki Cele show that murder has increased by 6,9 percent in South Africa overall - the sixth consecutive annual increase. 

The ISS maintains that of the additional 1 320 murders compared to 2016/17 figures, 42 percent (549) attributable to just 30 police stations (2,6 percent) of the total 1 144 police stations in South Africa, which should make it possible for police to reduce the killings by targeting resources in the murder hotspots.

"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, the most reliable crime statistic, and Cele’s willingness to recognise the crisis.  

The ISS said more research is needed to ascertain why there was a slight reported decrease in other violent crimes such as assault (down 1,9 percent) and armed robbery (down 1,8%) as these are the crimes that often lead to murder.

The think-tank also lamented the "massive increase" in the killing of women and children.

Police reported to Parliament’s portfolio committee on police that the killing of women increased by 11 percent in the year to end March 2018, with 20 percent more boys (under 18 years) murdered compared to the previous 12 months. The killing of girls under 18 years was up more than 10 percent.

Cele on Tuesday admitted he was the "carrier of bad news and depressing stories that should not be heard" when he released South Africa's 2017/18 crime statistics which showed an upward trend in murder, rape and attempted murder.

The stats show the murder rate is up 6.9 percent, at more than 20 000 murders for the year, prompting Cele to tell MPs the figures resembled those of a "war zone". 

Some of the key points of report tabled in Parliament, show the year-on-year trend as: 

-- Murder is up 6.9 percent from 19 016 to 20 336;

-- Attempted murder increased by 0.2 percent from 18 205 to 18 233; 

-- Sexual offences were up 0.9 percent from 49 660 to 50 108;

-- Assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm saw a 1.9 percent downward trend from 170 616 to 167 352;

-- The number of common assaults were down 0.1 percent from 156,450 to 156,243

-- Common robbery was down five percent from 53 418 to 50,730;

-- Robbery with aggravating circumstances saw a downward tick of 1.8 percent from 140,956 to 138,364;

-- Carjackings was down 2.3 percent from 16,717 to 16,325;

-- Robbery at residential premises was down 0.4 percent from 22,343 to 22,261;

-- Business robberies was down 3.1 percent from 20,680 to 20,047;

-- Cash-in-transit heists saw a big increase of 56.6 percent from 152 to 238;

-- Bank robberies increased from just three to 13; and

-- Truck hijackings was also up 1.6 percent from 1,183 to 1,202.

African News Agency (ANA)