by Kevin King
We are a very proud nation. Not when we rape our women, children and infants, murder each other in droves, commit racial, xenophobic and homophobic atrocities, but when we become all patriotic and go on the defensive after our failings are pointed out by outsiders, in this case the Americans.
Preceding Obama’s visit to our country, the US issued a crime warning to tourists stating that “violent and confrontational crime is a major concern [in South Africa]” and goes on to point out Pretoria, Joburg, Durban and Cape Town as “critical crime threat spots”. Many South Africans of course didn’t like this and launched their own counter attack at the US on social media. To sum up the types of responses:
- Crime happens everywhere
- US is number 1 in crime
- SA crime is blown out of proportion
Now coming from a corporate environment I refuse to stick my head in the sand and deny any problems without doing some research. In that way we can identify if we have a problem and if so, take corrective action.
2011/2012 Crime Research & Statistics – SAPS
- Murder – 15,609
- Culpable homicide – 11,788
- Attempted murder – 14,859
- Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm – 192,651
- Robbery with aggravating circumstances – 101,203
- Total sexual offences – 64,514
Our murder rate is reported as 42.7 per day. After including culpable homicide there are 75 new bodies in the morgue per day. This might explain why Interpol reports our murder rate as 80+ per day.
A total of 400,624 from the above violent crimes happened in just one year. Over the last 5 years this figure is close to 2,000,000, conservatively speaking. There are about 160,000 people in jail at this moment (highest in Africa and 9th in the world). Where are these criminals if they’re not in jail?
The above crimes are reported crimes and some members of SAPS have been busted for understating crime statistics which means that the actual number of crimes is actually higher. For instance, it is estimated that in SA, only 1 in 20 incidents of rape are reported. 64,514 x 20 = 1,290,280… per year… and thus claimed the title of Rape Capital of the World.
There are about 53 million people living in SA. Based on the reported violent crimes above and the average South African’s life expectancy, a shocking 52.6, each South African has a 40% chance of being a victim of violent crime in their lifetime.
I have left out the other major categories of crime such as common robbery, common assault, common hijacking, fraud, arson, corruption etc. in order to deal with violent crime only. Taking these into account the average South African will almost certainly be a victim of crime in their lifetime.
Now I’m not going to tell you what to think, you can make up your own mind on if we have a problem. Ignoring the rest of the world, I’d expect that any reasonable person would find the above statistics unacceptable. Personally, I think they are appalling.
Moving on, we should maybe compare ourselves to the rest of the world. Now the rest of the world is pretty big so I’m not going to go into details of all other countries, just a select few, starting with the slandering Americans. (Is the truth slander?)
Murder in America
Firstly, it should be known that Americans themselves confess that the USA is a violent country. Secondly, the USA has a population of about 314 million, six times our population, thus we can expect more crime to occur there. Thirdly, the USA has the highest gun ownership in the world, with 88.8 guns per 100 people according to the UN, with SA lying in 50th place with 12.7 guns per 100 people, a further indicator that they might be more violent than we are. So here are the stats:
- Total murders/homicides – 14,612 (2011), 14,748 (2010)
Yes, a country with six times our population and seven times more guns has fewer murders than we do.
Murder in other places
Now because people who complain about crime are told to leave to Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc. we might as well mention these places.
- Canada – 598 murders in 2011
- New Zealand – 39 murders in 2011
- UK – 663 in 2011/2012
- Australia – 229 in 2010
One thing is very evident when you visit these places. There are no high walls, no palisade fencing or electric fencing. In fact, residential electric fencing is illegal in these parts. There are no armed response units, police are all that’s necessary. It does not appear that these people live in fear behind their white picket fences.
Hopefully the above information will enlighten some as to what the current situation is in our country. The more you know your country the more can be done about its problems.