Crime Statistics 2008/9: Minister of Police briefing

Minister of Police, Mr Nkosinathi Mthethwa, reported that the important category of contact crime accounted for 32.7% of all crimes. He pointed out the increases in robbery with aggravated circumstances, sexual offences, stock theft and commercial crime. Under aggravated robberies, he referred specifically to the trio crimes of business and house robberies and hijackings. The highest increase was recorded in business robberies – this had increased by 41.5% when compared to 2007/8. Sexual offences increased by 10.1%. This increase could, in part be attributed to changes in the legislation. Under the new Sexual Offences Act, a number of new categories of crime were now included. The first proper comparison would only be possible at the end of next year. The increase of 2.7% in stock theft was a matter of serious concern. Commercial crime increased by 16%. During this period murder declined by 3.4% and attempted murder by 4.3%. Common assault declined by 4.3% and assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH) by 4.7%.  Street robberies declined by 7.4% and common robberies by 8.9%. The number of bank robberies declined by  29.2%.  ATM attacks (not listed as a specific category in the crime statistics) also declined by 10%. The Minister briefly reviewed the planned measures to reduce crime levels.

Dr Chris De Kock, Deputy National Commissioner: South African Police Service, briefed the media on the more technical aspects of the crime statistics looking at the weighting of different crime categories, contact crime, the social nature of murders in South Africa and the influence of the Sexual Offences Act on the increased number of sexual offences. He emphasised that the increases or decreases were based on ratios and that this was necessary to make the statistics internationally comparable. He also explained the statistics on street robberies, residential robberies, trio crime (business robberies, house robberies and hijackings) and ATM bombings.

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