Parliament – More South African households perceive crime to be increasing and feel less safe in their neighbourhoods, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) revealed in its latest Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) on Tuesday.
“South African households are currently starting to increasingly feel that the levels of violent and property crimes are increasing and this makes it more and more unsafe for them to walk in the parks or even allow their children to play alone in the parks,” said Kefiloe Masiteng, deputy director general for population and social statistics
Burglary and home robbery remained the most feared crime, according to the survey conducted among 30 000 households in the country between 2014 and 2015.
“More and more people are starting to feel more victimised,” said Masiteng.
The prevalence of burglaries among the respondents increased from 4.6 percent in 2010 to 5.1 percent in 2014/15, while home robberies decreased from 2.6 percent to 1.2 percent during the same period.
“About 2.1 percent of individuals experienced theft of their personal property, while 0.9 percent experienced assault in 2014/15,” Masiteng said.
There was also a decline in the number of people who felt safe when it was dark from 2011 to 2014/15, with just over a third of those interviewed feeling safe walking in their areas alone.
“As a result of fear of crime, more of the households in South Africa took measures to protect themselves and their property,” said Masiteng.
“More than half of the households took physical protection measures for their homes while almost a third took physical protection measures for their vehicles.”
Asked what they believed the motives for propety crimes were, a third of the respondents believed they were drug-related. This perception was higher in the Western Cape where 85.7 percent of respondents believed drugs were behind burglaries and other property-related crime, followed by the Eastern Cape (84.6 percent) and Gauteng (81.5 percent).
In keeping with surveys from previous years, households felt less satisfied with the courts and police.
“In 2014/15, an estimated 57 percent of households were satisfied with the police in their area, while about 54 percent were satisfied with the performance of the courts,” said Masiteng.
“Those who were satisfied with the courts thought that courts passed appropriate sentences, while some of those who were satisfied with the police were of the opinion that the police come to the scene of crime and they were committed in their work.”