The good side of lockdown: Low crime rate in SA, 7 weeks without homicide in Miami

A CBS report said for the first time since 1952, the Florida city has gone seven weeks without a murder.
A CBS report said for the first time since 1952, the Florida city has gone seven weeks without a murder. 
Image: SUHAIB SALEM

Criminals in some of the most violent cities in the United States have been driven to ground by Covid-19, according to a report.

Miami, a city known for its iconic beaches, also has a crime rate 62% higher than the national average of the US.

However, CBS has reported that for the first time since 1952, the Florida city has gone seven weeks without a murder. 

"We can say that it's due to our police high visibility, attributed to the pandemic," a Miami police source told CBS News.

Closer to home, police minister Bheki Cele said murder, rape, hijackings and robbery had gone down significantly, a state of affairs he ascribed to the ban on alcohol, which is a part of the lockdown rules.

During his address to journalists in Durban on Wednesday, Cele compared stats between March and April of 2019 with the same period this year.

Murder was down by 72% with 1,542 cases recorded in 2019 compared with 432 this year. Rape was down 87.2% with 2,908 rapes in 2019 compared with 371 under lockdown.

Similarly, Miami had no reported murders from February 17 to April 12, while other crimes such as domestic violence, had also been on a downswing.

Local stats showed that 1,758 Gender based Violence cased had been reported, compared to 11,876 last year within the same period, an 85,2% dip.

However, the caveat in the statistics in South Africa as articulated by organisations that work with GBV is, crimes such as sexual assault and child abuse could be worsened by the lockdown, with victims and survivors now trapped at home with their abusers.

Furthermore, they said were being forced to find new ways to respond to complaints during lockdown.

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