CRIME STATS | Fewer rapes and sexual assaults in first quarter of 2022
The number of rapes and other sexual crimes was down in the first quarter of 2022.
This is according to police minister Bheki Cele, who delivered the latest crime stats on Friday.
“Between April and June 2022 9,516 rape cases were opened with SAPS. This is almost 500 less ... compared with the same period last year,” he said.
All provinces but the North West and Northern Cape reported a decline in sexual offences.
A large number (3,780) of rapes took place in the homes of rapists or victims.
Cele said 1,546 people were raped in public places such as streets, parks and on beaches. Public transportation — buses, taxis and trains — was the third most likely site of rapes.
Despite the thousands of rapes reported, Cele said only 286 convictions were secured.
“Out of the 286 rape convictions, 46 of the rapists were sentenced to life behind bars. While the majority of rapes do take place behind closed doors and are hard to police, we are confident FCS [family violence, child protection and sexual offences] detective work is preventing more rapes, hence the decrease in rape cases during the reporting period.
“Serial rapists are stopped in their tracks and such convictions ensure these heartless rapists never rape again. Sixteen offenders involved in 65 serial sexual offence cases were finalised and convicted. They will be serving 20 life [sentences] and 886 years imprisonment.”
Cele said police were making strides in collecting evidence through rape kits and working on clearing a once-huge backlog of DNA samples key in solving such cases.
“The establishment of a joint project between the National Prosecuting Authority and police forensic science laboratories continues to focus on the prioritisation of court-ready cases where there are outstanding forensic reports. A total of 12,283 cases of rape and murder were prioritised as per requests and responded to from August 2021 to July 2022.”
Contact crimes decreased, with 2,205 fewer cases reported in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year. The reduction includes sexual offences, common robberies, common assault and assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm. All decreases had resulted in a 1.5% drop in contact crimes.
Cele attributed the reduced number to heightened police visibility.
“We are expanding the police footprint with limited resources. However, more of this and other operational interventions are still needed to ensure South Africans are safe, especially in public spaces.
“As the ministry we maintain policing is not at police stations but on the streets where crimes are likely to be prevented. The saturation of the streets by law-enforcement officers can only work in our favour and translate to safer communities.
“After all, police must be embedded in the communities they serve. Police should be available and visible at all times.”
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