18 years of crime – counting the dead

Kevin_Kingby Kevin King

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With the release of the latest crime stats imminent, I’d like to recap what’s happened in the last 18 years in South Africa.


Firstly, it’s interesting to note that the SAPS and the media only report the murder rate but ignore the actual number of victims killed in homicides, the act of killing another human being illegally.  There is a very thin line between murder and culpable homicide but fact is that death is the result.

In the 1994/1995 year, 38,525 homicides were reported by the SAPS.  25,965 murders and 12,560 culpable homicides.  105.55 killed per day.

In total, for the last 18 years including the 2011/2012 year, 597,500 were killed in homicides at a rate of 91 per day.

In the last reported statistics, the SAPS reported 27,397 homicides in the 2011/2012 year, a slight decrease from the previous year and a 29% decrease from the4 1994/1995 year.

The most unexpected discovery I made when analysing the stats was regarding the ratio of culpable homicides to total homicides.  There is a clear, undeniabletrend in the last 18 years.  From 33% in 1994/1995, the ratio increases consistently each year until 2011/2012 where it ends on 43%.  There are three possible reasons for this:

  1. There has been a steady change in the courts/law, every year, for the last 18 years, that has seen a greater percentage of homicides being classified as culpable homicide instead of murder, thus the law is being more lenient.
  2. Criminals themselves have been changing their behaviour, every year, for the last 18 years, in a manner that has seen them committing more unintentional homicides.
  3. Homicides are being incorrectly classified as culpable homicides in order to make the murder rate look rosier, because as mentioned, the murder rate is the main indicator of the crime situation in South Africa and the only figure that is reported, so there is motive to manipulate this figure.

Serious contact crimes

5,216,629 reported victims of serious contact crimes in the 18 years from 1994/1995 to 2011/2012.  That comprises:

  1. 597,900 victims of homicide who are now dead
  2. 443,551 victims of attempted murder
  3. 4,175,178 victims of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm

There is a thin line between category 2 and 3 but fact remains, there were 794 cases per day where someone’s life was in serious danger.

Sexual assault

Always a horrific stat, 1,111,425 reported cases of sexual offences took place in the 18 years from 1994/1995 to 2011/2012.  As mentioned in my previous articles, cases of sexual assault are severely under-reported in South Africa.  So here is a look at estimates of actual sexual assaults in the last 18 years based on the reported cases by the SAPS:

  1. Conservative estimate (1 in 5 reported) – 5,557,125 (846 per day)
  2. Moderate estimate (1 in 10 reported) – 11,114,250 (1,692 per day)
  3. Aggressive estimate (1 in 20 reported) – 22,228,500 (3,383 per day)

Most surveys and experts indicate that between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 cases of sexual assault are reported.

Arrests made, where do the criminals go?

According to NathiMthethwa, over 800,000 arrests were made in the 2012/2013 year for “serious crimes” and 352,513 of these were convicted, I’m however surprised that Nathi never expected anyone to do the maths…

Earlier this year our prison population stood at 156,000 and that was at 130% over capacity.  So Nathi, where do these serious criminals go?  352,513 arrested and convicted in only ONE year but our prisons were over capacity before these convictions?  Assuming all these serious criminals stay behind bars for 2 years, where will next year’s 350,000 serious criminals go?  Because I promise you now, at the end of the 2013/2014 year there will not be more than 160,000 prisoners in jail, so how can there be 352,513 arrested, convicted and jailed for serious crimes, unless most of these never see a day behind bars?  Taking your stats Nathi, there should be over 2 million criminals in jail for serious offences…

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  • Albert Brenner

    Great work, Kevin!

  • Andrea

    Well done, Kevin! I would love to hear him explain to us where those serious criminals go!

  • Rooikop

    Lies, big lies and statistics – as you pointed out this falls in the last group.

  • Keelvol

    If you take Interpol stats instead of the anc cooked up stats you will get an even more alarming trend. Anyone of these figures can at least be multiplied by a factor of two to even come close to the real figures…

    • Boerseun.Z.A.R

      I don’t take Interpol too seriously,after all they had Jacky Selebi as their head at one stage.
      I would call that part of the problem.

  • Boerseun.Z.A.R

    Was reading an article today about some or the other NGO or the other,a Mr Gareth Newham said it has only deteriorated in the past 10 years.
    I agree,more like the past 18.

  • Ratel

    There are no words to describe the sickness that is the NSA. This is the Utopia that FW de Klerk has led us into, the once proud South Africa has become a cesspool of murder, death and killing on a scale which is unimaginable.

    In the last 18 years, 597 500 people were killed; more than half a million people slaughtered by NASPERS’ noble savages. And yet we have become so used to these atrocities, that we just accept these staggering numbers and we try to get on with our lives, hoping against hope that we or our families are not going to be the next one to become just another part of the statistics.

    This means that in 12 years roughly 398 333 people were murdered in the NSA.

    Compare this to the actual number of deaths in the 12 years of Operation Enduring Freedom, an actual war zone, where it is the mission of the combatants to actively try to kill each other. For the 12 years of war only 3374 deaths were suffered.

    The NSA produced over a hundred times more deaths, over a same period. Our noble savages managed to kill a hundredfold more people IN PEACETIME, than what the Iraqi war produced. This is so sickening.

  • Werner Olsson

    Why not reinstate the death penalty?! The ruling party opposes this but yet even the majority of their supporters are for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

    According to a recent nationwide opinion poll nearly 80% of the youth supported this idea: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Youth-want-death-penalty-reinstated-20130222
    This also reflects the majority opinion of all South Africans.

    Voting for the DA won’t help to bring down violent crime, because they have more or less the same policies as the ANC. At the end of the day it does not matter which party governs with regard to the crime statistics- Corrupt politicians will have their way in the DA as well. The ruling party could solve this if they really wanted to: put the corrupt politicians infront of firing squads and that problem will be solved. This will indirectly have a positive effect on poverty- money will stop disappearing.

    Capital punishment for murder and rape. This should be put to vote because of majority popular opinion- why the double standard? President Zuma spoke so fondly of “majority democracy”. Unbelievable!

  • rooroo

    As an American, I don’t see how it’s possible to exist with a European-based culture when in the middle of a sea of blacks.

  • OomKosie

    Check National Offender Population Report, very interesting reading.