The fight against crime is not only a responsibility for police, according to national police commissioner-general Khomotso Phahlane.
Limpopo led the provinces with the highest number of incidents involving arson and malicious damage to property, which were as a result of violent community protests.
The main protest action in the province in question was in the troubled area of Vuwani, where nearly 30 schools were either torched or damaged.
While it remains unknown who exactly has been behind the torching and damage to property incidents, it is believed the incidents are related to the demarcation issues, as some residents do not want their area merged with Malamulele and other surrounding villages to form a new municipality.
Briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on the 2015/16 crime statistics on Friday morning, SAPS Major-General Sekhukhune said arson recorded a decrease in all provinces except for Limpopo.
He said while indications suggested that protests have become rowdy, peaceful protest decreased by almost 56%.
“In some instance where schools are torched, police act in terms of being deployed, but more provinces are experiencing unrests that are of a more violent nature,” Sekhukhune said.
He said incidents of malicious damages to property increased by 9.4% Limpopo, while there was a decrease of 1.4% recorded in Gauteng.
Speaking during the police’s briefing to Parliament’s portfolio committee on crime statistics, Phahlane said they were beginning to see a decrease in all crimes except for contact crime.
“This shows that our efforts are making a serious dent on crime,” he said.
Outlining the stats for the 2015/2016 financial year, SAPS Major-General Sekhukhune spoke about the 17 community-reported crimes, which he said included murder, sexual assault, assault and attempted murder, among other things.
Getting to the core of the business, the crime statistics themselves, Sekhukhune said they observed a total of 2.1 million charges were recorded by the police, with 1.7 million being community reported.
“Of the 1.7 million recorded, 69.7% crimes emanated solely from contact- and property-related crimes.
“Community reported crimes decreased by 1.8%, while contact-related crimes decreased by 2.7% and other serious crimes by 4.1%,” he said.
Seven of the nine provinces experienced a decrease in community reported crimes, with the Free State recording the most decreases.
Crime stats showed an increase in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Murder has increased by 4.9%, the stats claimed.
Attempted murder increased in six of the nine provinces, with Gauteng showing an increase of 8.9%.