The crime statistics released on 30 May 2023, by the police reflect the level of criminality that is the direct consequence of a shrinking economy, and the desperation of unemployed South Africans who are increasingly resorting to crime for survival.
It also paints an alarming picture of a violent society where murder and serious assault are at the order of the day.
In the first three months of this year, 6 289 murders were reported, in comparison to 6 083 last year. In the fourth quarter (January to March) of the 2018/19 financial year, 4 896 murders were reported, that means there has been an increase of 1 393 for the same period in just four years.
Last year, 27 066 people were murdered. That equals 2 256 per month or 76 every day. That is more than three murders taking place every hour of the day and night in South Africa.
Of the 6 289 murders between January and March this year, 872 were the result of vigilantism and bundu court justice (compared to 350 in the last quarter of 2019). Vigilantism was also the reason provided for 1 181 cases of attempted murder as well as 16 645 incidents of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
This shows that the public no longer trust the police and are increasingly taking the law into their own hands.
It is also abundantly clear that government’s attempts to combat violence against women and children are not successful.
Femicide (969 compared 898 a year ago), attempted murder (1 485 compared to 1 222) and serious assault (15 141 compared to 15 034) have all increased. Crimes committed against children seem to have levelled off somewhat.
Other violent crimes that rose sharply since the corresponding period last year include attempted murder (8,3%), assault (7,6%), robbery (8,9%) and armed robbery (5,1%).
The roots of violence are complex and reach deep into a society. Conditions like poverty, unemployment and hopelessness play a significant role in it.
Other crimes, like break-ins, theft and truck-jackings, also rose sharply.
Robberies at residential premises, one of the feared trio crimes, increased with 5,9% since the corresponding period last year (from 5 267 incidents to 5 578). Cash in transit heists increased with 20,8% (from 53 to 64) and shoplifting with 20,3%.
Some rays of hope include a reduction in sexual offences, like rape (2,8%) and sexual assault (14,9%). Hijackings also decreased with 5,2%.
According to the statistics, farm murders decreased from 17 murders in the first three months of last year to 8 this year. The fact that farmers increasingly implement measures to ensure their own safety must be taken into account here.
It is clear that ordinary South Africans are increasingly exposed to crime, and that criminals are becoming much more desperate and violent.
With a police force that is offering less and less protection, the public must incur great expenses to secure the safety of themselves, their loved ones and property.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr Pieter Groenewald on FF Plus