Lockdown gives SA a ‘crime holiday’ – Cele

“The statistics we will release today paint a never seen before rosy picture of a peaceful South Africa experiencing a ‘crime holiday’.”

KEEPING YOU SAFE: Police minister Bheki Cele says one positive of the the lockdown is that there is a significant decrease in crime
Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

This was how police minister Bheki Cele described the unveiling of the crime statistics for quarter one of 2020/21, on Friday August 14.

According to Cele, the country saw a major decrease in all crime categories, thanks in large part to the ongoing national lockdown and restriction on alcohol sales.

For example, Cele noted that there was a noticeable reduction in crimes committed against women and children during stages four and five.

“However, the low numbers of domestic abuse and sexual offences reported cases could have been due to some women not being able to escape their abusers and could not report crimes committed against them.

“In this regard, the SAPS will continue to monitor the reporting of such cases and verify whether the reduction was a result of non-reporting due to lockdown.

“This will be done by comparing the dates of reporting with the dates on which the crime was committed,” he said.

Contact crimes also dropped by a huge 37.4%, which Cele attributed to the unavailability of alcohol during the lockdown.

“This means there were 53,891 less cases of murder, attempted murder, assault GBH [grievous bodily harm], common robbery and common assault reported, compared to the same reporting period,” said Cele.

Contact-related crimes, made up of arson and malicious damage to property, fell by 29.4%.

“During this time, South Africans were also safer in their homes.

“Burglaries at residential premises dropped by over 30%, while on the other hand, burglary at non-residential premises increased by 9.1%,” Cele said.

“Worringly, there has been an increased number of attacks on schools and liquor outlets during this time.”

The minister also said that the SAPS had been effectively cracking down on anyone violating the lockdown restrictions.

As of Friday, nearly 300,000 people had been arrested and charged with contraventions of the Disaster Management Act.

Nearly 200,000 of these had been released on a warning to appear before a court, while approximately 30,000 were found non-guilty.

Cele also said that 163 officers had been arrested since the start of the lockdown for violating restrictions.

The full statistics are as follows:

  • Murder cases – dropped by 35.8%
  • Sexual offences – decreased by 39.7%
  • Attempted murder – dropped by 23.8%
  • Assault to do grievous bodily harm – dropped by 41.0%
  • Common assault – dropped by 28.2%
  • Common robbery – decreased by 49.8%
  • Robbery with aggravating circumstances – 39.5%drop
  • All sexual offences – decreased by 39.7%
  • Rape – decreased by 40.4%
  • Sexual assault – decreased by 35.9%
  • Attempted sexual offences – decreased by 40.3%
  • Contact sexual offences – dropped by 36.2%
  • Carjacking – dropped by 41.2%
  • Robbery at residential premises – 23.2% drop
  • Robbery at non-residential premises – 34.5% drop
  • Robbery of cash-in-transit – 50.0% drop
  • Bank robbery – zero cases
  • Truck hijackings – dropped by 30.0%
  • Contact-related crimes – decreased by 29.4%
  • Arson – 32.9% drop
  • Malicious damage to property – 29.2% drop
  • All property-related crimes – decreased 29.1%
  • Burglary at non-residential premises – increased by 9.1%
  • Burglary at non-residential premises – increased by 9.1%
  • Burglary at residential premises – decreased by 30.5%
  • Theft of motor vehicles and motor cycles – 53.0% drop

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