The South African Police Service is ramping up its crime prevention strategies amid a crime wave in the country.

In a media briefing held on Monday (1 August), police commissioner General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola said that the police is tightening its enforcement of legislation that governs illegal firearm possession and use alongside national and provincial legislation that governs the sale of liquor.

According to the SAPS, in July alone, 1,173 illegal firearms and 7,738 cases of live ammunition were seized countrywide – 1,035 of the guns were confiscated in Gauteng alone.

Some of these firearms, ammo and dangerous weapons were seized during roadblocks, as well as stolen vehicles and drugs, said Masemola.

The SAPS also aims to mount strategic roadblocks across the country in an attempt to curb crime.

Mass shootings across the country have become a weekly occurrence, with President Cyril Ramaphosa urging the nation’s security agencies to bring the perpetrators of mass gun violence in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal to justice.

Addressing the media at the ANC’s latest national policy conference, chairperson for peace and stability David Mahlobo said that the ruling party is concerned over the presence of a large number of illegal firearms that are in the hands of criminals.

Mahlobo said that this is the biggest challenge crime in South Africa faces. He added that he is aware of a number of firearms belonging to the state being lost, including firearms used by private security companies and gangsters.

Mahlobo further urged that firearm control and firearm management be tightened.

For the month of July, SAPS also reported that a total of 3,193 suspects were arrested for gender based-assault, 576 for murder, 360 for attempted murder, 432 for rape and 177 for sexual offences.

Crime wave

The South African Police Service (SAPS) in June presented the country’s latest crime statistics, covering the fourth quarter of the 2021/22 financial year, January to March 2022.

The data revealed a major shift in the number of violent crimes in the country, with the quarter being the worst it has been for the same period over the last five years.

Category 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
Murder 4 668 4 896 4 589 4 976 6 083
Attempted murder 4 243 4 647 4 216 4 582 5 717
Assault (GBH) 41 078 43 113 40 168 36 417 42 992
Common assault 39 314 42 262 42 866 38 889 45 746
Rape 9 695 10 792 9 905 9 518 10 818

Despite this, the stats also show increased police activity, with crimes detected as a result of police action also rising over the quarter.

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