Farm murders: Six surprising facts we learned from crime stats 2017/2018

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The scourge of farm murders has become one of the biggest hot-button issues in South Africa, accelerated somewhat by the uncertainty regarding land expropriation.

It also doesn’t help when US President Donald Trump gets involved and passes comment without really knowing any of the facts. Yes, farm murders are tragic and our landowners deserve more security. But referring to these incidents as “large-scale killings” isn’t based on fact, and it doesn’t really add up.

We’ve taken a look at the official government statistics on farm murders, and a few things surprised us: Some for the better, some for worse. Here’s what the crime stats for 2017/2018 suggest is happening:

What the crime stats say about farm murders:

Farm murders killed 62 people in 12 months

From March 2017 – March 2018, official SAPS data suggests 62 people have been killed on their farms. AfriForum previously claimed that 109 farm attacks took place between January – March 2018. However, the crime stats suggest that only 108 attacks have taken place over the last year.

A majority of farm attacks result in murder

When farm invasions get underway, the statistics say they are most likely to end in murder. The 62 killings from 108 attacks gives us a 57.4% mortality rate. A further 30.5% of incidents result in burglary, whereas 5.55% of farm crimes play host to attempted murders.

Gauteng is the most dangerous province for farm murders

It has the highest number of incidents (11) and the highest number of fatalities (12).

Symmetry in the Capes

The Northern, Western and Eastern Capes all experienced three cases where a murder had occurred, taking their combined total to nine fatalities. However, these incidents didn’t result in any multiple victims, meaning each province had an identical record on farm murders.

Farm murders make up 0.3% of all killings in South Africa

There was a total of 20 336 murders in South Africa last year – which hasn’t got any easier to digest during Tuesday – and farm murders only make up a small, but significant percentage of the numbers. For context, you’re more likely to be killed by a panga than murdered on a farm.

You get the most victims per attack in Limpopo

Given that nine murders came from seven confirmed incidents with fatalities, Limpopo is where farmers are most likely to be one of “multiple victims”. Now, the numbers aren’t that high so there isn’t much to go on, but 23% of these crimes claim at least two lives or more.

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