IMPROVED CRIME REPORTING: Is South Africa’s crime wave a statistical illusion?

  • Ted Leggett Institute for Security Studies
Keywords: crime, South Africa, crime reporting, post-apartheid


Is crime in South Africa really on the increase, or is the spiralling crime rate a product of improved reporting? It was not unexpected that the arrival, in 1994, of a democratic government should lead to a dramatic increase in crime reporting. Police statistics show that commonly underreported crimes have been going up, while those most likely to be reported (murder, car theft, and business burglary) are in decline. This suggests that improved performance by the police (which encourages reporting by the public) may be responsible for the ‘increase’ in crime in recent years.

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