People fear walking alone: survey
Many South Africans do not want to walk alone for fear of rampant crime, a perception study revealed on Thursday.
Releasing the results of 2012 Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) in Pretoria, Statistics SA (StatsSA) chief survey statistician Joseph Lukhwareni said the number was on the rise.
"We said let us look at the feeling of safety. We asked questions about how households felt in their areas. This question has always been asked.
"We found that there is a decrease in the number of households which feel safe walking alone in their areas during the day.
"In 2011, there were 85.7 percent of households feeling safe compared to 88.2 percent in 2010," he said.
Lukhwareni said there was a also slight decrease in the number of families which felt safe walking alone at night in their areas.
The number of people who felt safe walking alone at night decreased from 37 percent in 2010 to 36.5 percent in 2011.
Further analysis revealed that more male-headed households felt safer walking alone than female-headed families.
The survey found that Indian/Asian male-headed households, at 83.7 percent, tended to feel safer than male-headed families from the other population groups.
Feelings of insecurity were highest in the Free State at 68 percent, Mpumalanga at 54 percent, and North West at 50 percent.
Households in KwaZulu-Natal and the Northern Cape were the least likely to feel insecure, according to StatsSA.
More families were not allowing their children to play in places like parks, for fear of falling victim to criminals, the survey found that
Compared to 2010, more families were not allowing their children to play in recreational places or walk to school than in 2011.
Many families, particularly in Indian/Asian, white, and coloured-headed households avoided using public transport to avoid falling victim to crime.
Only 8.1 percent of black African-headed households did not use public transport because of crime.
StatsSA deputy director general Kefiloe Masiteng said the number of households satisfied with the police's performance had declined on the previous year.
"We had a percentage of 65 in 2010, but we had a 62 percent satisfaction with regards to satisfaction with the police performance [in 2011]," said Masiteng.
The perception about police performance was influenced by factors including the time taken to respond to crime scenes, visible policing and the recovery of stolen goods by the police.
She said about 59.3 percent of households perceived burglary as the most common crime.
"We were asking families what are the most feared types of crimes. "Housebreaking and robbery came out to be the crimes that people are [most] worried about," said Masiteng.
Housebreaking is classified as unlawful and intentional entry into a building, intending to commit crime while nobody is in the dwelling.
The survey focused on people's perceptions and experiences of crime, and their views regarding their access to the police and the justice system.
The target population of the survey was private households in all nine provinces.
It did not cover other living quarters like student hostels, old age homes, hospitals, prisons and military barracks.
The survey sought to provide information about the dynamics of crime in the country from the perception of households and victims of crime.
The period under review was January to December 2011.