South Africa’s reputation as one of the top crime capitals of the world remains steadfast, as the crime stats for 2018 show.

Figures released to cover all crimes reported between April 2017 and March 2018 show a total of 2.09-million crimes. This is down from 2.12 recorded in 2017.

The categories that are recorded are contact crimes – incorporate murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, common assault and battery. Contact-related crimes also include arson and malicious injury to property. Other serious crimes include commercial crime, shop-lifting, hijackings, robbery at residences, cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies.

Serious crime on the rise

Increases in crime statistics for 2018 show the following on the rise -bank robberies, cash-in-transit heists, sexual offences, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, drug-related crimes.

Categories showing a downward trend include common assault, robbery at residential sites, commercial crime, robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft of vehicles, shoplifting and arson.

BusinessTech posted the following comment from Vera Nagtegaal, executive head of Hippo: “Given that crime is an unfortunate reality of South African life, these sobering statistics should be seen as an opportunity for citizens to fine-tune and better understand their insurance policies in order to not only better protect themselves, but also mitigate any financial pitfalls as a result of crime.”

The complexities of legal terminology and how it can affect you need to be explained to you very thoroughly. Insist on the breaking down of classifications, as you could lose out for claiming an incorrect category. It also is important that you find out if your policy covers essential services such as trauma counselling, car rental or hotel rental.

Home invasions

Incidents such as home invasions could also be a minefield that you’ll have to walk, and it is essential you have an attorney on your side. You might be shocked to realise that retaliating in a home invasion is not advised. This seems to be an incomprehensible piece of advice, and here’s another one: the law is basically on the side of the intruders.

The law states that only if your life is in danger can you shoot an intruder. What this boils down to is that you do not have a license to shoot an intruder for just discovering that he has broken into your property.

If that person was unarmed, you could land up in jail. This has been the cause of many an innocent person ending up behind bars, sparking a great deal of outrage and controversy. But that’s the law.

Even if the culprits are escaping with your goods, you are not allowed to retaliate. The only time you can open fire is if the intruders were armed and threatening you. In court, there will be all sorts of “in the likelihood of…in the instance of…. foreseeable risk….” that could bamboozle you completely. You need legal protection!

The only time you are allowed carte blanche in an act of defence is if the intruders were armed and threatening to kill you and others on your property. You could also be in trouble if you shoot someone only armed with a knife.

Counsel for prosecution could claim that you were using “excessive force”. Your lawyer, though, could counter-claim with a “reasonable defence action” plea. It’s complicated, and you need legal protection, no doubt about it.

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