JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa recorded about 17,000 murders in the year ending in March, reflecting a 5 percent increase over the previous year, police said Friday.
While South Africa's murder rate has shown an overall decline in the past decade, analysts said the annual crime statistics show that violence is one of the most serious problems facing the country.
Murder and some other kinds of violent crime are difficult for police to stop because most cases involve people who know each other, said Gen. Riah Phiyega, the national police commissioner.
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said the latest data shows that an average of 47 murders happen daily in South Africa and likened the rate of killing to that of a country at war.
The increase in the murder rate as well as the rates of home robberies and carjackings between 2013 and 2014 illustrated the need to upgrade police intelligence and make other improvements in the force, according to the Institute for Security Studies, a South Africa-based research group.
"High levels of violence undermine investor confidence, drive up costs in the health sector and have a negative impact on all sectors of society," Chandre Gould, a senior research fellow at the group, said in a statement.