Lockdown conditions have made South Africa and other countries safer, experts say, but new dangers lurked as desperation and social pressures abounded amid the strange realities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) was not surprised by the latest crime statistics released this week, showing a decrease in violent crimes by more than 60% and an unprecedented overall crime rate drop over the last month.
According to crime researcher at the institution, Dr Johan Burger, these trends were to be expected as restricted movement the world over had dramatically dropped the crime rates.
For South Africa, crimes taking an upward trend, according to Burger, included attacks on schools, while he predicted an increase of business burglaries including raids on churches, warehouses and offices spaces where criminals could find valuable items to sell on the black market.
He said lockdown conditions had led to fewer opportunities of house burglaries because of increased police visibility and more families being stuck at home.
Crime statistics confirmed predictions of a drop in the crime rate and although Police Minister Bheki Cele’s public addresses suggested the alcohol ban played a major role in the drop in crime during the lockdown, his statement on the latest data did not explain this supposed correlation.
Trio crimes car hijacking and robberies at homes and nonresidential places decreased by 80.9%, 65.5% and 53.8% respectively between March and April last year and the same period this year.
Violent crimes decreased by over 65% overall. Murder was down 72% and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was down 85.2% in a country with average murder rate of 58 per day.