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NICRO Responds to Crime Stats indicating South Africans are Under Siege

The recent release of the crime statistics report, which details crime levels in South Africa between April 1, 2016 and March 31 this year, has once again solicited mixed reactions from Government, political parties and civil society.

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Data compiled by Crime Stats SA, shows which precincts in South Africa are the hardest hit by crime.

Shockingly, the group notes that 5,900 crimes are reported to the South African Police Services every day.

Recent data by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) showed that, when it comes to societal safety and security, South Africa ranks as the 15th worst country in the world, and the 8th most violent with a murder rate of 31 per 100,000 people.

The IEP singled out South Africa as being in conflict internally – driven by poverty,  inequality, and the slow pace of reform by government, which, in turn, fuels crime, violent strike action and political confrontation.

The data by Crime Stats – based on official SAPS data – shows that, while the country still has high levels of crime, it is improving.

Over the last decade, total reported crimes have declined in SA, from 2.7 million reports in 2004, to just over 2.2 million in 2014.

While Gauteng as a whole experienced the most crime, the two worst areas are located in the Western Cape, namely Mitchells Plain  and Cape Town Central.

Gauteng’s worst are is Joburg central, followed by Honeydew and Pretoria Central.

Note that the crime numbers below are expressed as raw data, and are not proportional as a percentage of the population.

Crime categories:

  • Murder

According to reported data, there were 16,194 reported murder cases, most of which were in KwaZulu Natal (3,561 cases), though Nyaga in the Western Cape was the worst precinct.

  • Sexual crimes

There were 62,267 reported sexual crime cases, most of which were again in KwaZulu Natal (11,661 cases). Again the worst precinct wasn’t in that province, however, rather falling in Limpopo.

  •  Assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm

Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm – or assault with the intent to wound or injure – is most prolific in Gauteng, where 41,326 of a total of 182,065 cases were opened.

  •  Break-ins at residential homes

Burglary at residential homes are again most prolific in Gauteng, with 67,913 cases opened in Gauteng. There were a total of 259,424 reported break-ins in the year, with most happening in Park Road precinct in the Free State.

  • Drug-related crime

The Western Cape is known to have a serious problem with drugs and drug-related crime, so it comes as no surprise that it’s the province with the highest number of cases (84,337). A total of 258,472 cases were opened, nationally, with Mitchells Plain being the worst off by a large margin.


Crime stats in context

The Crime Stats data is based on reported figures from the SAPS.

According to, because of the time periods between reporting the data and the financial year it covers, SAPS crime data is often at least 6 months out of date.

“No information is provided about the exact location of reported crimes within each precinct and it should be noted that many police stations cover large and socio-economically diverse areas,” the group noted.

The group does say the data can be used to create an indication of frequency of crime – though this should not be taken out of context of population sizes in the area.

Africacheck also points out that uncertainty hovers over crime data as many crimes go unreported, the SAPS data is unaudited, and there is widespread mistrust of the SAPS itself.


NICRO is committed to turning lives around - We encourage all South Africans not to stand back, but become involved either by donating a monthly amount, a once-off donation or look at the NICRO wish list for support in kind for around the country and see how you can assist.