Crime in SA at 15-year low: index


1 November 2013

Crime in South Africa is at its lowest level in 15 years, having dropped by 38% since its peak in the 2002/03 financial year, according to the latest crime index from global analytics company IHS.

“The decline in overall crime in South Africa has been echoed in both indices, reporting a steady decline since 2002,” IHS said in its report, released on Wednesday. The report is divided into a violent crime index and a property crime index.

“Violent crime is at the lowest level seen in a decade, declining some 40% between 2002 and 2013. Property crime experienced a decrease of 24% over the same period,” IHS said, adding: “The declining crime rates reflect the overall improvement of conditions in South Africa.”

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the findings vindicated the government’s national crime statistics, which were released in September.

While many local analysts were sceptical in their analysis of the statistics, it was gratifying that an internationally recognised, credible and globally respected institution had now affirmed the fact that crime was decreasing in South Africa, the minister said.

“Since 1994, we have been making steady progress in the fight against crime. This period has been characterised by growing unity in action against crime, a period focused on improving life conditions for all.”

South Africa has adopted a multi-pronged approach in the fight against crime, involving partnerships with communities, business, civic organisations and labour movements.

“For this reason, almost on a weekly basis as the police leadership, we are out there meeting with communities, not because there are problems but as part of ensuring that we entrench this community-policing philosophy,” Mthethwa said.

“Such community interactions also help us to tap into the collective wisdom of citizens in order to enhance existing crime prevention and combating programmes, whilst jointly seeking solutions around crime.”