Crime in South Africa

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South Africa has come a long way since 1994, when the country was on a knife’s edge, and it seemed civil war was imminent. With strong leadership by Nelson Mandela, the transition was relatively peaceful, and political violence reduced substantially during the first years of democracy.  Indeed, since the birth of democracy in South Africa 21 years ago, the murder rate has more than halved.  Between 1994 and 2011, the murder rate dropped by 55 percent—from 66.9 per 100,000 people to 30.2.

Unfortunately, however, this long-term trend changed in the 2011/12 financial year, after which murder has increased, going up nine percent in three years.  In the most recent statistics released by the South African Police Service, a total of 17,805 intentional homicides were recorded for the period of April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015. This means that, on average, 49 people are being killed each day at a rate of 32.9 murders per 100,000 people, which represents a rate well above the international average of 6.2.

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