Most crime categories decreased during 2011/12, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced on Thursday (20/09/2012).
Releasing the latest crime statistics at Parliament, Mthethwa told journalists a decline was shown in all seven categories of contact crime — murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH), common assault, aggravated robbery, and common robbery.
These crimes accounted for 29.9 percent of South Africa’s recorded serious crimes; such crimes involved physical contact, usually of a violent and coercive nature, between the perpetrators and their victims.
"We are encouraged that all provinces with the exception of Free State, Limpopo and Western Cape, experienced a decline in this form of crime.” All percentage increases and decreases were calculated on the basis of ratios per 100,000 of the population (per capita figures) in line with international practice.
In 2010/11, contact crime decreased by 6.9 percent and for the financial year under review, a decrease of 3.5 percent was recorded.
Contact crime had significantly reduced by 35.5 percent from 2004/05 to 2011/12.
Murder, one of the most reliable trends of crime statistics, decreased by 3.1 percent in 2011/12.
Research indicated that about 65 percent of murders started off as assaults resulting from interpersonal arguments, which were often further stimulated by alcohol and drug abuse.
Attempted murder decreased by 5.2 percent, assault GBH by 4.2 percent, and common assault by 3.4 percent.
"One of the shifts that we have witnessed is that although crimes against women and children are decreasing, we are now seeing a trend where young children are now being targeted and abused.
"We shall be intensifying the war [on crimes committed] against young children to ensure that this trend is reversed.
"A greater and growing awareness among parents/guardians that children should be looked after and protected, must be considered,” he said.
One area that remained stubbornly high was sexual offences.
However, the sexual offences ratio decreased by 3.7 percent in the year under review.
"We need to emphasise that as government we are however, still concerned about the scourge of rape in our country.” Rape decreased by 1.9 percent, but was still unacceptably high.
More resources and better police training mechanisms were now being put in place.
"To a large extent, we do admit that this is one challenging category for police to police. It is also influenced by reporting behaviour. If victims trust the police, then you will get more reporting.
"So the issue of under-reporting remains a challenge, and not just in South Africa, but internationally,” Mthethwa said. - Sapa