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Good news in troubled times

23 May 2017 Jonathan Faurie
Jonathan Faurie, FAnews Journalist

Jonathan Faurie, FAnews Journalist

Crime is an unfortunate reality of South African life. Insurers also keep a careful eye on these statistics as they are heavily invested, through policyholders, in the households that are affected by crime. Many industry commentators have commented how costs are affecting the industry and that if it is not managed properly rates could change as costs get passed onto policyholders.

A welcome decrease

According to Lightstone, South Africa’s recently released crime statistics reveal a drop in residential and non-residential crime in 2016, both in terms of absolute values and as a percentage of our population.

Lightstone receives data from SAPS and then groups the information together to model the statistics down to a more granular level. The company classifies malicious damage to residential property and home burglary as residential crime and burglary, shoplifting and robbery at non-residential premises as non-residential crime. Lightstone removes other SAPS reported crimes that do not fit into either of these categories.

The statistics show that there were some welcome reductions in certain crimes. In terms of crimes committed per 100 000 people, aggravated robbery increased slightly from 195 cases in 2015 to 202 cases in 2016. Property crime decreased by 3.48% from 2013 cases in 2015 to 1 943 cases in 2016. Other serious crime, which could include fraud, decreased by 5.77% from 1 818 cases in 2015 to 1 713 cases in 2016.

Provincial breakdown

Lightstone also provides statistics on crime rates within specific provinces. The rates have been standardised per thousand households to show crime relative to the size of the population.

The Western Cape (50 criminal cases per 1 000 households) has the highest average residential crime rate. While the rate has dropped slightly in the past two years, the crime rate is still much higher than that of the next most crime-ridden province, the Northern Cape (just over 30 criminal cases).

Gauteng and the Free State (just under 30 cases) showed similar crime rates.

Limpopo (about 15 cases) has the lowest provincial crime rate, although it has seen progressive increases over the past four years. 

What is interesting about this is that the Northern Cape has a higher crime rate than Gauteng. This may suggest that there is truth in the thought that with increased levels of poverty comes increased levels of crime.

Carjacking increase

A crime that was once a calling card (being very popular amongst criminals) was carjacking. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, this spread rapidly across South Africa.

Security focused company Pro-Active South Africa reports that stats released by the South African Police Services for the period April 2016 to December 2016, show a marked escalation in the contact crime category where robbery with aggravating circumstances (including carjacking) has increased by 6.1%.

With this, the so-called ‘trio crimes’ (carjacking, robbery at home and robbery at non-residential premises) all saw  large increases – with carjacking (vehicle hijacking) seeing the biggest increase across all crime categories.

According to the statistics, from April to December 2015 there were 11 086 cases of these types of crime. This increased to 12 743 cases over the same period in 2016.

Old favourite declines

In the past, businesses were very susceptible to crime. According to a release by Bryte Insurance, this has changed.

A noteworthy trend for 2016 was the continued decline in crimes committed against businesses. This decrease in criminal activity reflects a heightened vigilance among businesses, whereas the Crime Tracker shows that criminals are increasingly focusing on individuals as they probably pose easier targets.

Editor’s Thoughts:
Crime affects every one of us. Until there are more jobs and government gets their acts together, crime will be here to stay. It is clear that cancelling insurance policies is not an option. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

Comments

Added by drZ, 23 May 2017
Why not see if the SAPS stats correlate with insurance claims?

That would be very useful in assessing their validity.
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