Crime stats: These are the fraud hotspots in SA, led by Bloemfontein and Midrand
Commercial crime increased by more than 14% in a year, with 83 823 cases reported by the South African Police Service. These crimes included fraud, embezzlement, corruption, forgery, money laundering and certain cybercrimes.
The police released SA's crime stats for the year to end-March on Thursday, which showed that the number of murders increased by 3.4% to more than 21 000. Robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 1% to 140 000 cases.
But many business-related crimes involving physical force declined: robberies of cash in transit fell by 23% to 183, bank robberies fell by 70% to only four in the entire country, and truck hijackings fell 2% to 1 182.
In contrast, commercial crime increased to its highest level in six years.
All provinces, excluding the Northern Cape, saw large increases – with the Northwest (+38%) and KwaZulu-Natal (+21%) hit the hardest.
More than a third of all fraud cases are in Gauteng.
The Park Road police station in Bloemfontein saw the largest number of commercial crimes (1 291) over the past year, an increase of 23% on the previous year. Midrand also saw a large increase (+22%), with Potchefstroom (+34%) and Durban (+12%) also seeing large spikes.
Wolmaransstad was an unlikely commercial crime hotspot, ranked among the top five in the country in the past year. Commercial crimes shot up from 39 to more than a thousand cases. Earlier this year, the police in Wolmaransstad warned that scammers are targeting victims with fake ads for livestock and vehicles.
Cape Town Central police station was the only major police station that saw a decline (-4%) in commercial crime.