Latest crime stats show increased murder rates

National crime statistics were released today based on crimes reported to police stations for the period April 2015 to March 2016.

Contact crimes, which include murder, attempted murder, assault and sexual offences, are up 1%. Saps have told Parliament that 1.7 million serious crimes were reported during this period under review.

Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dr Johan Burger, joins Charlotte Kilbane, standing in for Stephen Grootes, on The Midday report to unpack what the numbers mean.

Burger says while 1% may not sound high, the concern is that within the category of contact crimes, there are serious and violent crimes such as murder and aggravated robbery that has continued an upward trend that began four years ago.

The increase in murder may be only 4% this year but the overall increase over the past four years is over 20%.

That seems to be in a way correlated to the increase we have seen in aggravated robbery - specifically in crimes such as car hijackings.

Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher, ISS

Car hijackings show a 14% increase in this year in review, but an accumulated 55% increase over the past five years.

As we see the murder rate increase four years in a row, we see as well the aggravated robbery rate increasing.

Dr Johan Burger, senior researcher, ISS

Burger says more scrutiny is needed to make a defining conclusion that those perpetrating aggravated robbery are now more predisposed to kill.

Contact crimes is the other area of concern.

We know by far most interpersonal contact crimes... happen as a consequence of certain socio-economic conditions.

Dr. Johan Burger, senior researcher, ISS

It is also known that in most of these contact crime, the victim and perpetrator are known to one another.

Burger acknowledges that the upheavals in Saps like leadership suspensions and transfers, has had a huge impact on police over the past few years.

Crime intelligence has become dysfunctional.

Dr. Johan Burger, senior researcher, ISS

Police Commissioner Lt-Gen Khomotso back-to-basics programme and restructuring is a positive step, he says. But it will take a few years to see the impact of these improvements.

Good news is Saps have pronounced and confirmed it will be releasing quarterly crime stats in the future, rather than one annual release.

Listen to the interview below:

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