Eastern Cape bucks trend as contact crimes decrease

Murder, sexual offences continue downward trend nationally

The latest crime statistics were announced yesterday.
BY THE NUMBERS: The latest crime statistics were announced yesterday.

Murder and sexual offences have continued their downward trend in the latest crime statistics‚ with murder decreasing by 0.8% and sexual offences by 1.5% in the second quarter of the 2023/24 financial year.

These‚ however‚ were the only two contact crimes categories — crimes against an individual — to continue declining from the first quarter.

The rest increased‚ with the overall category rising by 2.1%.

Police top management briefed parliament’s police portfolio committee before the release of the second quarter crime statistics‚ covering the period July 1 to the end of September.

Major-General Norman Sekhukhune, joined by police minister Bheki Cele and police commissioner General Fannie Masemola‚ provided MPs with a breakdown of the statistics.

He said 6‚945 murder cases were reported‚ 59 less than in the same period last year.

A total of 13‚090 sexual offences were reported‚ down from 13‚283.

Attempted murder saw the highest increase within the category‚ rising by 12.3%.

Robbery with aggravating circumstances saw the lowest increase‚ rising by 1.1%.

In the sexual offences category‚ rape declined by 0.7% and sexual assault by 2.5%. There were 10‚516 rape cases reported‚ down by 74 from the same period last year.

Contact sexual offences saw the biggest decrease‚ dropping by 35.9%. The only offence to increase in this category was attempted sexual offence‚ which went up by 4.1%.

Commenting before the presentation‚ Cele said while crime remained “stubborn”‚ police were “beginning to see green shoots” in certain categories. He cited recent successes in investigating cash-in-transit heists and making arrests‚ as well as the arrest of a woman linked to insurance fraud on Thursday.

The murder of women and children saw a decrease between July and September, with the first seeing a decrease of 10.9% and the second going down by 7%, but the number of lives lost to gender-based violence remains staggering.

Police recorded 881 murder cases involving women in the three months, down from 989 during the same period last year. Police registered 293 murder cases involving children, down by 22 from 315 from July to September 2022.

Cases of attempted murder and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) went up. 

Attempted murder had the highest spike of 18.6%, with 1,514 cases registered between July and September. This is an increase of 237 from the same period last year.

Assault GBH went up by 5.1%, with 14,401 cases reported to police. This is 700 more than last year's figure of 13,701.

In the crimes against children category, attempted murder saw an increase of 22.8%. There were 361 cases reported to police, up by 67 from 294 during the same period last year.

Assault GBH went down by 4%, with 1,820 cases reported to police. This is 75 fewer than last year’s 1,895.

Arguments, misunderstandings, road rage and provocation continue to lead the pack when it comes to the causes of murders in general. This was followed by vigilantism or mob justice and then robbery. 

Four of SA’s nine provinces are home to the top 30 police stations with the highest contact crime figures recorded in the second quarter of the 2023-2024 financial year.

Gauteng has 13 of those stations, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, which each have eight, and Limpopo fourth with one station in the top 30.

“Of the nine provinces, only two recorded decreases. That is the Eastern Cape, which recorded 321 fewer cases, and Limpopo, which recorded 41 fewer cases,” Sekhukhune said.

The Eastern Cape had the third-highest number of murder cases, but saw a decline of only one from 1,313 in 2022. 



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