NATIONAL NEWS - Police Minister Bheki Cele said yesterday that the COVID-19 lockdown has seen domestic violence related crimes decrease significantly since the introduction of the National State of Disaster regulations.
He was speaking during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal. The crimes related to - but are not limited to - murder, attempted murder, rape and sexual assault.
He attributed it to the prohibition of the sale of liquor and the heightened police visibility, reinforced by the deployment of the National Defence Force. He said there has been a significant drop across most crime categories.
“At this stage, we have compared crime for the period 27 March 2020 to 20 April 2020, to the same period in 2019. We welcome the decrease in especially contact crime and trio crimes – both crime categories that are known to instil fear and terror amongst our citizens.”
Cele said authorities have in this period, conducted over 190 roadblocks, which have been set up daily across the country. In addition, 681 vehicle checkpoints mounted have been mounted.
Comparing crime trends between 29 March- 22 April 2019; and 27 March - 20 April 2020, results show crime had plummeted by 69.4%.
During this period, domestic related crimes dropped from 9 990 cases between 29 March and 22 April last year, to 3 061 since the start of the lockdown until 20 April 2020. This is a difference of 6 929.
“What has been most concerning is the fact that in most of these domestic violence incidents, the perpetrators are well known to the victims – spouses, partners, close relatives,” he said.
In four of the incidents during the lockdown, the boyfriends were allegedly killed by their girlfriends and in two of these incidents, the murder was a result of an argument over liquor.
“In relation to contraventions of the lockdown regulations, by the end if the initial 21 days, we were on almost 107 000 cases opened and over 118 000 people charged.”
The cases include liquor related offences, illegal gatherings, failure to confine to place of residence, cross border movement, business related, transport related, misrepresentation of statement to deceive.
From those arrested, 42 388 are before different courts across the country, while the rest have either been granted bail, issued with fines, or released with a warning to appear before court.
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