South Africans worry about being safe in their homes: survey

01 December 2015 - 17:43 By TMG Digital

South Africans feel vulnerable to crime‚ fearing drug-addicted criminals‚ housebreakers‚ muggers‚ muti killers and sexual exploitation. This is according to perceptions reflected in the latest Victims of Crime survey‚ conducted by Statistics South Africa. The results were released today (Tuesday).“Most of the households were of the opinion that the levels for both violent and non-violent crimes had increased in their areas of residence during the period of 2011 to 2014.Housebreaking/burglary (65‚9%) was perceived to be one of the most common types of crime followed by home robbery (42‚7%)‚ both of these crime types were also perceived as the most feared amongst households‚” Stats SA said in its report.The Victims of Crime Survey 2014/15 showed that housebreaking/burglary (5‚1%) was also the most prevalent household crime‚ followed by home robbery (1‚2%) and theft from car (1‚1%). The analysis indicates that theft of personal property (1‚9%) was the most prevalent crime experienced by individuals from the age of 16 years.“The prevalence and under-reporting of crime incidents to SAPS remain a major concern in the country. It is important to measure the extent of crime and gain insights about its dynamics in order to better understand how it manifests itself in communities. This will enable better formulation‚ implementation and monitoring of strategies for crime prevention and management‚” Stats SA noted.Crime categories that were more likely to be reported to the police were murder (95‚7%)‚ car theft (88‚9%)‚ car hijacking (85‚8%) and sexual offences (63‚0%). In general‚ property related crimes‚ such as housebreaking/burglary (51‚8%)‚ theft of personal property (34‚2%) and theft of livestock (32‚3%) were less likely to be reported to the police as compared to contact-related crimes.Most households who decided not to report crime‚ mentioned ‘police could do nothing’ and ‘police won’t do anything about it’ as the reasons why they did not report the crime.While about 85‚4% of households felt safe walking alone in their area during the day‚ 68‚9% felt unsafe when it is dark.More than a third of households (36‚9%) were prevented from going to open spaces or parks when alone because of fear of crime‚ while 18‚4% of households said they would not allow their children to walk to school unaccompanied by an adult.Because of fear of crime‚ households in the country took measures to protect themselves. About 51‚6% of households took physical protection measures for their homes‚ while more than 29‚0% of households took physical protection measures for their vehicles.When asked about what they perceived to be the motive of perpetrators when committing property crimes‚ the majority of households said that property crime was committed because of drug-related needs (77%).Households that attributed the prevalence of property crime to drug-related needs were predominantly found in Western Cape (85‚7%)‚ Eastern Cape (84‚6%) and Gauteng (81‚5%).Stats SA also looked at factors impacting on negative and positive perceptions about the Criminal Justice System. About 57% of households were satisfied with the police in their area and 54.4% were satisfied with how the courts were performing.Those who were satisfied with the courts thought that courts passed sentences that were appropriate to the crimes committed‚ and those who were satisfied with the police were of the opinion that the police do come to the scene of the crime and they were committed.“Most people in North West‚ Western Cape and Northern Cape were more likely to be dissatisfied with police‚ while households from Western Cape‚ Gauteng and North West rated the performance of the courts low.”While a vast majority of households (94‚9%) had never encountered cases of human trafficking themselves‚ most households thought that the motive for the crime was sexually exploitation of their victims‚ and this was evident in KwaZulu-Natal (81‚6%)‚ Gauteng (81‚2%) and Eastern Cape (80‚7%).About 52‚3% of households in the country said perpetrators of trafficking in persons were doing this to extract their victims’ body parts.Most households (81%) in the country were of the view that victims were attracted by offering them job opportunities.About 89‚8% of households felt that both young boys and girls were in danger of falling victim to trafficking in persons.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day, Financial Mail or Rand Daily Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.