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#CrimeStats: Figures show increase in the crimes SA fears most

For a third consecutive year there's been an increase in the number of murders in the country.

Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - For a third consecutive year there's been an increase in the number of murders in South Africa.

Crime statistics for the 2014/2015 financial year show a 4.6 percent increase in the number of murders compared to the previous period.

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko and National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega have released the annual figures in Parliament.

Overall contact crimes, which include murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, are up by 0.9 percent.

A total of 17,805 murders were reported between April 2014 and March this year.

That's nearly 782 more deaths when compared to the previous period.

Contact-related crimes, meanwhile, increased by just under 1.9 percent.

Phiyega has told Members of Parliament this area remains a stubborn problem.

"That area remains very stubborn and requires our undivided and more focused attention beyond policing, but ensuring we focus on some of the issues that the minister has mentioned, to see those are social related aspects that require that we intervene."

House robberies are up by just over 5.2 percent.

SEXUAL OFFENCES ON THE DECREASE

Total sexual offences are down for a second consecutive year.

The latest figures show a 5.4 percent drop.

However, rights groups would argue that incidents of rape and sexual assault are under reported.

The Institute for Security Studies says the latest statistics show police are failing to address the most serious and violent forms of crime.

The institute's Gareth Newham says the police are losing gains seen in the last decade.

"This is the third year that we've seen an increase in murder and an increase in robberies. We are not making the gains that we saw 10 or five years ago and that is really worrying."

Newham says the growing number of robberies is of particular concern.

"We've seen another 10,000 more cases of robbery being reported to the police, which means that over the last 10 years, there are 30,000 more robbery cases."

NHLEKO'S COMMENTS ABOUT FOREIGNERS COMMITTING CRIMES

The minister told the police portfolio committee that where there are pockets of foreigner populations, there were higher levels of crime.

The centre's Alexandra Hiropoulos says singling out foreigners is unhelpful.

"It can contribute to more anti foreign sentiments in the country, of fear that foreigners are contributing to crime. Without the figures to back that up it can be dangerous."

She says such comment heightens tension between citizens and foreigners.

"Any specific hot spots? how many crimes are committed by foreigners and how many by South Africans?"