A Matter of Fact: SA’s serial murder & rape ‘ranking’ not supported by data

The Sunday Times recently reported an exodus of investigative forensic psychologists who dealt with violent crime in the country.

Highly qualified and skilled officers are said to be vacating their positions due to poor pay and high workloads.

To emphasise the scale of the problem, the article stated: “South Africa ranks among the world’s worst three countries – after the US and Russia – for serial murders and rapes.”

Africa Check refutes this statement. Researcher Kate Wilkinson explains that there a lot of unanswered questions.

We wondered are they referring to the number of serial killers in these countries or the number of cases involved which would maybe include the number of victims? Does the claim consider different population sizes of countries? Because it is generally accepted that most crimes increase with larger populations ...or are we looking at absolute numbers? That was our starting point.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

READ: 'Massive loss of forensic psychologists leaves us back at square one'

There is not a unified accepted definition of serial rape or serial murder and when it actually comes to prosecuting people, people are not charged with serial murder or serial rape. They will be charged with multiple counts of murder or rape and then what they actually find is that the concept of someone being considered a serial offender is taking into consideration at the sentencing,.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

We actually got in touch with the police and unfortunately we have yet to receive that information. So from there we then looked for international data base.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

We don't have any indication of how population i splaying a role here. Secondly this information is taken from a number of sources and tellingly it is based in the United States and the United States tops the rankings.

Kate Wilkinson, senior researcher at Africa Check

Click on the link below to listen to hear more from Wilkinson....


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