Most Crimes Decreased During Lockdown
On 15 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The resultant hard lockdown – with day-time restrictions and night-time curfews – had a dramatic effect on crime and public safety.
Crime statistics show that murder declined by 64%, rape by 82%, attempted murder by 56%, assault with grievous bodily harm by 80% and robbery with aggravating circumstances by 64% during the lockdown period, compared to the same period last year. Carjacking was down by 71% and house robberies by 49%. Although Police Minister, Bheki Cele, suggested that the alcohol ban played a role in the drop in crime, this is not borne out by statistics from other countries, where crime levels dropped despite few bans on alcohol sales. Statistics from the Institute of Security Studies indicated that domestic violence cases reported between March and April dropped by almost 70%. However, this is far from the full picture, as many women were unable to leave their homes to access help, or seek privacy to call helplines.