SA Crime Statistics: An Initial Rapid Assessment with a Focus on the Western Cape
There are three crime categories from the 2014/15 SAPS crime statistics that are worth noting as there were significant increases in the number of reported crimes, namely murder (4.6%), attempted murder (3.2%) and robbery with aggravated circumstances (8.5%). Critically, in the Western Cape the percentage increases for these crime categories were more than double compared to the national level. In order to try and get a better idea of these trends one has to look at the statistics at the station level as violent crime is disproportionately spread across the country and even in cities.
During the 2014/15 reporting period there were 3,186 reported murders in the Western Cape, 282 more than compared to 2013/14, which is close to a 10% increase. As in previous years the vast majority of reported murders were recorded in a same small number of policing stations, such as Nyanga (300 murders), Gugulethu (165 murders), Delft (163 murders), Khayelitsha (146 murders), Kraaifontein (141 murders), Mitchells Plain (141 murders) and Harare (141 murders). In terms of the number of reported murders there are both positive and negative developments.
Across all three stations in Khayelitsha there has been more than a 7% reduction in the number of murders compared to the previous reporting period, but this was accompanied by an 11% increase in the number of recorded attempted murders.Mitchells Plain also saw significant declines in most categories of serious crime, including murder.
The intensification of gang violence in the Western Cape was reflected in the dramatic increases in the number of murders recorded in places like Manenberg (53.7% increase), Kraaifontein (25,9% increase) and Philippi East (19.2% increase). In Manenberg, for example, the number of murders has more than doubled since 2011/12. In Muizenberg there have been 52.6% and 92,6% increases in the number of murders and attempted murders respectively.
Of concern in the province has been the considerable rise (18.6%) in the number of cases of robbery with aggravating circumstances. Areas such as Delft, Philippi East, Bishop Lavis, Langa, Nyanga and Ravensmead have all experienced major increases in this regard.
Words by Guy Lamb.