Home / News / News / South African Crime Stats Incorrect Due To Incorrect Population Figures


Date: 2018-09-13

Anine Kriegler, a researcher at the University of Cape Town, spoke to Africa Check regarding the miscalculation of the South African population which affected the incorrect crime stats for the years 2017/2018.

A larger population estimate was calculated when working out the South African population, which increased from 55 843 011 in 2016/17 to 57 725 600 in 2017/18. Anine Kriegler says “There is no way the population increased by 3.4% in that year,”. Based on Statistics SA’s estimates, the population increased 1.6% between September 2016 and September 2017.
“Police need to be consistent in the population statistics they use.”

The higher population estimate skews changes in the crime rates between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

The second issue that has occurred with the statistics is that the 2017/18 crime stats cover the period of April 1, 2017, to March 31 2018, however, this is evidently not the population estimate SAPS used as it was in fact from June 2018.

The South African Police Service's calculations suggest the murder rate increased by 1.1 percentage points, from 34.1 per 100 000 in 2016/17 to 35.2 in 2017/18. Using the correct population estimate shows the murder rate actually increased by 1.7 percentage points from 33.9 per 100 000 to 35.6.

By using a higher population increase estimate, the figures were skewed by a decrease in estimated crime rates. – Reports originally from Africa Check.

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