Police minister Bheki Cele said on Tuesday that the festive season was marked by a “massive drop” in most major crimes
“The festive season period according to the SAPS calendar, which runs from 15 October to 11 January has been the safest,” said Cele.
He was speaking at the South African Police Service (SAPS) KwaZulu-Natal headquarters in Durban during a media briefing.
Cele said the almost three-month period had seen a “massive drop in most major crimes”, with fewer people killed compared to the same period last year.
“The national murder rate during this period declined by 1,4%,” he said.
All crimes within the contact crime category decreased apart from common assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
“Women and children were also safer this festive season, with sexual offences, which includes crimes such as rape, sexual assault and attempted sexual offences, decreased by 9,9%.
“There has also been a drop in all contact related crimes such as arson and malicious damage to property. This festive season, homes and business properties were safer.”
Concerted efforts to build partnerships between the police and community members in crime fighting meant the festive season crime report was “a good story to tell”, according to Cele.
Leave had been cancelled over the festive season to enhance visible policing.
“Police were out in their numbers conducting patrols, stop and search operations, cordon and searches and roadblocks. They also conducted compliance inspections and shut down establishments operating outside the law.”
But, said Cele, there were still “some stubborn crimes” that needed urgent intervention.
Three-hundred-and-eighty-eight suspects had been arrested for carjacking over the festive season, but there were also more cases of carjacking and truckjacking over the period, with increases at 11% and 9% respectively.
Proactive policing resulted in 4,831 firearms being confiscated during the period in question, he said.
“More drunken drivers were also taken off our roads during the festive period. Despite our constant warnings, education and awareness raised, 24,827 drunk drivers were arrested as a result of police action.
“This means 4,048 more people were arrested by the SAPS for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs compared to the previous comparative period.”