Latest Crime Statistics – South Africa remains a violent country

By Jen Thorpe

In September 2010 the government released its latest crime statistics. You access the full page here. The scary truth is that approximately 2 121 887 serious crimes were committed in the 2009/2010 calendar year. Over 30% of these were contact crimes, and over 25% were property related crimes.

So what does that mean for the ordinary citizen? Well, if you look at the stats the number of reported crimes have gone down. This is, in itself a complicated issue, because of the problems with reporting, and can reflect mistrust and lack of faith in the police. On the other hand, it could reflect that crime has gone down and that the SAPS are doing a great job. It’s impossible to tell which, so lets just read more about the stats.


In the 2008/2009 period there were 18148 murders in SA, but in 2009/2010 this had decreased to 16834.

In the 2008/2009 period there were 59232 reported cases of common robbery, but in the 2009/2010 period there were 57537.

In the 2008/2009 period there were 70514 reported incidents of sexual offences, and in 2009/2010 this had decreased to 68332.

Breakdown of crime

30% of all crimes were assault with grevious bodily harm, 29.2% were common assault, 16.8% were aggravated robbery and 10.1% were sexual offences.

Is it enough?

Whilst these are noticeable and significant improvements it is important to ask – is this enough? South Africa remains an extremely violent country. 30% of crimes were assault with grevious bodily harm.

With 68332 reported incidents of sexual offences, that boils down to 187 sexual offences incidents per day. If the suggestions of the 1 in 9 campaign are true, only 1 in 9 incidents of sexual offences are reported because of stigma, fear of retaliation and a lack of faith in the police. This means that potentially there were actually over 6 hundred thousand sexual offences incidents, which translates to 1684 per day, which is over 70 per hour, which means at least one every minute.

As Rumbi Goredema suggested in Fighting Crime with Crime there is a need for consideration of the systemic factors that are causing crime in South Africa. What culture of violence are we sustaining? What type of masculinity leads to one rape every minute?

What can we do to make a change? With 2 million crimes a year it is going to take all of us to work together to come up with creative, positive, and context appropriate solutions to really make a difference.



11 responses to “Latest Crime Statistics – South Africa remains a violent country

  1. siphamandla

    our country is becoming a scary place to be but i refuse to feel unsafe in my birth place police must do their jobs…government too

  2. Natalie

    Its not surprising to hear that nothing was done about picking up the criminals. It is really quite a joke but no one laughs at this crap anymore. I left SA after being a victim fives times over a 3 yr period, not to mention the 12 burglaries in my parents home from 1980-1990. Many are experiencing this level of crime for the last 20 years. If govt was serious about crime, it would have been a priority. As things stand , even our President is a rapist. fat chance women have of getting any justice in South Africa. I would like to make the case for amnesty for all South African women because they are being assaulted at a rate of one per minute…If this was happening in a European country to white women, someone would have done something to help by now. The world can help South African women by granting them asylum…

  3. somebody help me i wnt to work with stats help plz

  4. Alan

    SAPS and our laugh a minuet government are rubbing their hands and patting their backs on the decrease of crime in South Africa.
    I have been a victim of crime ten times in five years, but reported it only once when it was with valance on our domestic.
    The domestic was tricked into letting a woman through the security gate, and then two more women and a man rushed in from nowhere and beat her to the ground, held her and robbed the house. Our domestic managed to give the police a very good description of the gang and even the registration number of the car they speed off in.
    After six weeks of no feedback from the police, even after many phone calls and being told not to harass the police detective as he is very busy. Then I got in touch with his senior; who promised to sort it out. Two weeks later I got a call from the very busy detective, who told me he had got the name of the male assailant and even his phone number; he went on to say that he had phone him and told him to report as soon as he can to the police station bring the three women with him regarding the robbery!!!!!!!!!!
    I think the man is still laughing and the detective thinks he has done a good job.
    Now you know why people don’t bother to report crime.
    As for the decrease in crime? Easy answer, better burglar bars, higher fences, more clever alarms and a more secure prison (home) we all live in.
    Plus never go out on your own unless you carry an AK7 or better and consider body armor. GOOD LUCK.

  5. This is a very nice post. Well done my friend.

  6. Hello, first I want to say that your page is fantastic. I don’t agree with evry thought but it’s always a great reading. Keep writing.

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  9. Sarah

    Here is what some of the NGOs are saying – however it is only with reference to sexual violence.

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