Serious crime is on the decline, says report

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The South African Institute of Race Relations on Friday released a 14-year overview of crime statistics in the country.

The situation is not all gloomy. The research says between 1995 and 2008, serious crimes per 100000 people dropped by 18,5 percent. During the same period, murder decreased by 42 percent.

The analysis relied on official statistics from the SAPS.

Institute researcher Kerwin Lebone said: "Over the period under review the rate per 100000 people went up in only five of the 21 serious crimes analysed by the SAPS.

"These include aggravated robbery, common robbery, indecent assault, drug-related crime and driving under the influence of alcohol."

Lebone said the only crime categories that have decreased by less than 10 percent were illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and malicious damage to property.

All other categories decreased by more than 16 percent.

The analysis also showed that in 1994-1995, property related crimes made up more than 32 percent of all serious crimes, which was the largest proportion of all crimes.

Lebone said: "In 2007-2008, contact crimes - which include violence - took up the biggest share of all serious crimes.

Property-related crimes came third and the trend justifies the growing concern with the violent nature of South African crime."

The analysis also shows that 18 of the 21 serious crimes peaked in the early 2000s.

But residential and business robberies continued to rise sharply.