Crime stats: Close to 47 murders per day in SA

The 2013/2014 crime statistics show there were 800 more murders in the last financial year.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega speaks at the release of the 2013/2014 annual crime statistics in Pretoria on 19 September 2014. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - In an indication that South Africa is less safe than it was two years ago, it's emerged murders, house robberies, and hijackings are on the increase.

The 2013/2014 crime statistics were released in Pretoria earlier today by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega.

They show there were 800 more murders in the last financial year.

The figures show that house robberies increased by more than 7 percent across the country but by a staggering 12 percent in Gauteng and 14 percent in the Western Cape.

The 19,284 robberies inside the homes of South Africans is higher than the number recorded in 2010 and the highest in the last decade.

Over the last year, murder went up by 5 percent in more than 17,000 cases, that's 800 cases more than the previous year.

The police's statistics show 17,068 murders were recorded in the 2013/2014 year, up from 16,259 in 2012/2013 - that's a 5 percent increase. If those numbers don't stir up concern, consider this: 17,068 cases translate into close to 47 murders a day, or just under two murders every hour.

Car hijacking has gone up for a second year in a row by 22 percent in Gauteng and 21 percent in the Western Cape.

The statistics do show reductions in sexual offences, however, this is an often underreported category.

There also have been fewer instances of assault and motor vehicle theft.


Phiyega said contact crimes remain the primary focus for the police.

She said the five year trend shows a decrease in crime but the year in review shows an increase in violent crimes.

Nhleko said the five year trend showed persistent problems of contact crimes and an increase in social unrest.

He said that commercial crimes, stock theft and sexual offences showed a downward trend.

"I attribute the decrease in sexual crimes to heightened consciousness on this issue. But the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse remains a concern.There are more taverns than school in some areas."

Nhleko said the South African Police Service employed around 193,000 police officers over the past year, which works out to one officer for every 346 citizens.

The figures are derived from cases reported and dealt with and have been audited by the auditor-general.

Phiyega dealt with the actual numbers from the latest audit.

On priority crimes, the commissioner said of the 17 priority crimes, six have increased while 11 have decreased.

"Murder is up by 5 percent and attempted murder has also increased while sexual offences are down by 5.6 percent."

She said that Gauteng, Northern, Eastern and Western Cape have showed an increase in murder cases.

Assault with intent to cause Grievous Bodily Harm is down by 1.5 percent while rape has also dropped by 6.3 percent.


Gareth Newham , Head of the Governance, Crime and Justice Division at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), says it's the first time that murder has gone up for two consecutive years.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega released the statistics at the police training college in Pretoria.

Newham said these figures have to be a wake-up call for South Africans.

"In the last 20 years, we have had three years where murder has increased, that means four more murders in the country occur every day than it did last year. We have to start working together as the police can't do it alone."

Newham said the aggravated robbery figures are concerning.

"People who commit robberies aren't really desperate, they are more organised, they have firearms and they make a good living out of it. The problem is, there isn't enough to deter people from crime. The longer people get away with crimes, the more of an incentive it becomes to other people."

He further said the public needs be updated on crime statistics are once a month.

"When people know which crimes are going up, they get into partnerships with the police. Every month we can monitor if the initiatives are working or not and be able to fight crime."

Earlier this week, the ISS said while the trend of contact crimes was continuing to increase, the police didn't appear to have a clear strategy to solve the problem.

2012/13 NUMBERS:

Murder - 16,259

Sexual offences - 66,387

Robbery with aggravating circumstances - 105,888

(Gadeeja Abbas)