Nathi Mthethwa

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While the percentage figure of crimes against children under 18 showed a downward trend, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa declared war on those targeting minors, during a media briefing.

An analysis by the SA Police Service (SAPS) research task team, showed the gender and age breakdown of the 15,609 people killed from April 1st last year to March 31st this year.

Over 80 percent of the murder victims are adult men.

Women account for 14.6 percent of those murdered. Close to 800 children were slain.

Another 758 minors fell victim to attempted murder.

"A greater and growing awareness among parents/guardians that children should be looked after and protected, must be considered," Mthethwa told reporters as he released the crime figures at Parliament.

Over 70 cases of sexual offences against children were recorded every day.

The SAPS research task team head Mzwandile Petros said police were hampered from policing and preventing contact crimes because there was often no warning before murders, attempted murders, assault and rape were committed.

Petros said the fact was that most of these serious crimes happened on private property, and were spontaneous.

The crimes were often precipitated by drug and alcohol abuse.