Police minister Bheki Cele has released crime statistics for the first three months of 2021, showing that four courier vehicles were hijacked every day in South Africa.
During the first quarter of the year, aggravated robberies such as carjackings increased by 5% when compared to the same period in 2020.
This included 354 couriers vans or trucks which were targeted for their cargo, which Cele said was typically food, appliances, and other prized goods.
Courier activities have increased in recent months as ecommerce boomed due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to shop from home.
Garry Marshall, the CEO of the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA) previously told MyBroadband that were being targeted for the items they transported, and that it was clear that co-ordinated syndicates were involved.
Based on anecdotal evidence from the courier companies the organisation represented – which includes DHL, FedEx, Globeflight, and RAM – the situation was worse than ever before.
“A lot of these are reported as armed robberies, and some of them are reported as hijackings, and I think many of them are not reported at all,” he stated.
Marshall also told Carte Blanche that some of the courier companies experienced up to three attacks per day.
In one case, surveillance footage showed robbers robbing a truck transporting mobile phones, which they cut open using a generator-powered grinder.
They then proceeded to offload the cargo in just three minutes, before fleeing the scene. The footage of this incident can be seen in the Carte Blanche report below, around the 2:50 mark.
The crime stats further showed that while cash-in-transit robberies dropped by 10.6%, truck hijackings increased by 24.6%.
Robberies at residential premises also climbed by 7.6%, while robberies at non-residential premises rose by 2.8%.
Cele said there was an overall decline of 8.5% in contact crimes over the period, which includes assault with grievous bodily harm, sexual offences, common assault and robbery, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
“We have made gains in categories of crime that were previously stubborn,” the minister stated.
However, cases of murder and attempted murder increased by 8.4% and 8.7%, respectively.
“4,976 people were killed in the first three months of 2021.This is 387 more people killed compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year,” Cele said.
“The top four causative factors of these murders still remain arguments, robberies, both residential and non-residential and street robberies, mob justice and gang-related incidents.”
“From a sample of 4,911 murders, a total of 2,378 people were killed in public places like streets, open fields, recreational parks, beaches, and abandoned buildings,” he added.
Cele expressed grave concern over the killing of police officers, which he said could cause a crisis.
In the first three months of this year, 24 SAPS officers were killed.
“11 of them were killed on duty while preventing, combating or solving a crime. Some were attacked or ambushed while conducting patrols and their official firearms stolen,” Cele said.
“If we are to win this fight against crime, such criminal acts against police can’t be ignored but [must] be addressed at the community level.”
The table below shows the changes in the number of reported cases for various crime categories during the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
South Africa rime statistics – Q1 2021
|Crime Category||Cases||Change compared to Q1 2020|
|Assault to do grievously bodily harm||36,417||-9.3%|
|Robbery with aggravating circumstances||30,768||-7.9%|
|Attempted Sexual Offences||433||-12.9%|
|Contact Sexual Offences||272||-12.8%|
|Robbery at Residential Premises||5,288||+7.6%|
|Robbery at Non-Residential Premises||4,872||+2.8%|
|Robbery of Cash-in-Transit||42||-10.6%|
|Truck and courier hijacking||354||+24.6%|
|Contact related crimes|
|Malicious damage to property||24,850||-4.8%|
|Property related crimes|
|Burglary at non-residential premises||15,215||-17.2%|
|Burglary at residential premises||40,568||-20.5%|
|Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle||9,240||-17.2%|
|Theft out of or from motor vehicle||20,111||-27.7%|
|Other serious crimes|
|All theft not mentioned elsewhere||15,215||-14.2%|
|Crime detected as a result of police action|
|Illegal possession of firearms||3,184||11.7%|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol||8,583||55.6%|
|Sexual offences detected as a result of police action||2,335||27.7%|