South Africa's Serious Crimes Continue To Increase

Pretoria – The figures for trio crimes - which include carjacking, robberies at residential premises as well as robberies at non-residential premises - are not at a desirable level, says Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

According to Minister Nhleko, figures for carjacking indicate a 0.1% point increase in the 2015/16 financial year compared to a 1.6% point increase during 2013/14.

For robberies at residential premises, the figures for 2013/14 stood at 7.4%, while in 2014/15 there was an increase of 5.2% and in 2015/16 they increased by 2.7%.

For robberies at non-residential premises, the figures for 2013/15 stood at an increase of 13.6%, while in 2014/15 they were at an increase of 3.2% and in 2015/16 they increased by 2.8%.

Minister Nhleko was briefing the media on Friday in Cape Town on the latest crime statistics.

During 2015/16, there were 14 602 cases of carjacking compared to 12 773 in 2014/15.

The motives behind carjacking range from obtaining vehicles utilised to commit other crimes and selling vehicles for financial gain to feeding the increasing demand for second-hand parts, the crime statistics report states.

An increased targeting of delivery vehicles transporting cigarettes also contributed to the increase in carjacking figures.

Firearms were the most common weapons used for carjacking.

“In Gauteng, firearms were employed in 87.0% of cases, in KwaZulu-Natal in 88.0% of cases and in Mpumalanga in 85.0% of cases,” the report states.

Police also recovered toy firearms from some suspects in Gauteng. Toy replicas appear authentic and are difficult to distinguish from real firearms during carjacking. This causes the same trauma to victims.

Robbery at residential premises

Robbery at residential premises increased by 2.7% compared to the preceding financial year and constituted 15.7% of all aggravated robberies in 2015/2016.

In 2015/2016, the figure for robbery at residential premises stood at 20 820 while in 2014/15 it was 20 281.

“The use of firearms during house robberies was prevalent in almost all the provinces. However, pangas were used in a substantial number of cases reported in particularly the township areas of Thabong, Mangaung, Phuthaditjhaba and Selosesha in the Free State.”

The items stolen during house robberies include cash, jewellery, cellular telephones, television sets, computers, laptops, electrical appliances and groceries nationally.

Robbery at non-residential premises

Robbery at non-residential premises increased by 2.8% during 2015/2016 compared to 2014/15.

This means that in 2015/2016 there were 19 698 cases of robberies at non-residential premises compared to 19 170 in 2014/15.

A national analysis of 4 128 business robbery cases reported from September to November 2015 revealed that the types of businesses most frequently targeted were Spaza or tuck shops at 22.8%, supermarkets at 12.2% and general dealers including butcheries and cafés at 7.4%.

Others included taverns/bars/shebeens at 7.1% as well as convenience stores at petrol stations at 7.0%, farm stalls/shops at 6.7% and clothing stores at 5.6%.

Items that were stolen include cash in 83.8% of the cases, cellphones/accessories/airtime at 51.4% and cigarettes at 31.4%. Figures for groceries stood at 8.6%, laptop computers were at 4.7% and cases of alcohol stood at 3.9%.

Cell phones remain a sought-after commodity as evidenced by analysis that shows that 50% of robberies committed at clothing shops targeted phones.