Joburg Marked as Murder Hotspot: Examining the Ongoing Crisis
Statistics reveal that Joburg is a murder hotspot. The City of Johannesburg has been identified as the epicentre of reported murder cases in Gauteng, according to the province’s third quarter crime statistics, as presented by Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela on Tuesday, 14 March. According to the Daily Sun, the statistics, which covered the period between 1 October and 31 December 2022, were reported to the Gauteng legislature at Gold Reef City in Johannesburg.
The statistics revealed that Johannesburg had the highest number of murders, a 17.7% increase from the previous year. This information translates to 659 counts of murder in 2022, compared to 560 in 2021. Ekurhuleni district followed with a 13.9% increase, Sedibeng district with a 6.8% increase and Tshwane district with a 0.5% increase. West Rand district was the only one with a decrease of 15.2%, moving from 165 reports in 2021 to 139 reports in 2022.
Gauteng recorded 1,721 deaths in 2022, marking an increase of 9.6% from 2021, which recorded 1,570 counts of murder. Some reported murders resulted from arguments, misunderstandings, road rage, or provocation. In contrast, others resulted from robbery, vigilantism, mob justice, or taxi-related incidents. The statistics also showed that public spaces, such as streets, roads, or residences of victims, suspects, neighbours, or hostels, were the most common places where murders occurred.
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The statistics revealed that firearms were the most frequently used murder weapon, followed by knives, sharp instruments, body parts, stones, breaks or rocks, and blunt instruments. Kidnapping was also a prevalent crime in Johannesburg, with an 86.5% increase from the previous year, followed by Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng, and West Rand. Gauteng had an overall increase of 64.5% in kidnappings, with a ransom demanded, extortion, and human trafficking as the primary causative factors.
Although Mawela was unimpressed that Joburg is a murder hotspot, he noted that the province’s 7.1% increase in crime contributed 27.1% of the overall crime in the country for the quarter. Assault gender-based violence increased by 4.5% and common assault by 9.4%, which recorded 25,642 counts out of 50,039 total counts in the contact crimes category. Addressing the media after his briefing, Mawela expressed the commitment to creating a safe and secure environment for the people of Gauteng.
Regarding the increased number of deaths resulting from mob justice, Mawela stressed that communities should not take matters into their own hands, adding that vigilantism is not justice, and they condemn it. Mawela said they would monitor the areas prone to mob justice acts.
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Picture: Twitter / GP_CommSafety