Minister of Police Bheki Cele released the country’s quarterly crime statistics on Friday, November 13 and one of the most shocking findings was that more than 2300 children have been arrested in the Western Cape. The largest group consists of 33 10-year-olds.
While most crimes committed by minors have declined, attempted sexual offences increased by 7% and contact sexual offences increased by a worrying 300%. A total of 604 incidents of rape were reported against children, and this has dropped from last year’s 727.
There have been 152 minor-committed murders between July and September, which is a 29% decrease on last year’s figures. Carjackings by minors, however, increased by 11%.
A total of 2349 Western Cape children between the ages of 10 and 17 years old were arrested for being on the wrong side of the law, and within a timeframe of three months, 790 17-year-olds and 530 16-year-olds had appeared in court and stood accused of crimes.
Speaking to IOL, Betzi Pierce, from the SA National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO) said that the environment a child grows up in greatly affects their behaviour.
“Children often get involved with crime based on a host of factors, their environment and the situation at home, with the family unit and its stability being the biggest contributors. Domestic violence, child neglect and abuse is what we observe being a present factor when we evaluate children,” she said.