Victims of Crime Survey results released by Statistics South Africa this week indicate that aggregate crime levels in the period 2017/18 increased as compared to 2016/17. It is estimated that over 1.5 million incidences of household crime occurred in South Africa in 2017/18, an increase of 5% compared to the previous year. Incidences of crime on individuals are estimated to be over 1,6 million, an increase of 5% from the previous year.
According to the report, aggregate household crime levels increased in Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga. Individual crime levels increased in Free State, North West and Gauteng. North West experienced a drastic increase of 80% in individual crime level. More provinces experienced an increase in household and individual crime levels if comparisons were done using proportions instead of absolute numbers.
Housebreaking or burglary continued to be the dominant type of crime in 2017/18 accounting for 54% of all household crimes surveyed in VOCS. An estimated 832 122 incidences of housebreaking occurred, a 7% increase compared to the previous year. An estimated 156 089 incidences of home robbery occurred, an increase of 3% from last year. It is estimated that 16 809 incidences of murder occurred in 2017/18 which is an increase of about 4% from the previous year.
In the case of individual crimes, theft of personal property was the most dominant accounting for about 41% of individual crimes. It is estimated that 693 219 incidences of theft of personal property occurred in 2017/18, a decrease of 2% from the previous year. Robbery away from home decreased by 5%, while sexual offence decreased by 61% and assault increased by 12% from the previous year.
Perceptions of South Africans on crime in 2017/18 were more sceptical compared to the previous year. About 42% thought property crime increased during the past three years. This is an increase of 6,9% from the previous year. Those who thought violent crime increased during the past three years were 46%, an increase of 4,5% over the previous year. Western Cape was the most sceptical about crime trends, 84% thought that crime in South Africa increased or stayed the same. Mpumalanga was the least sceptical among the nine provinces, 65% thought that crime increased or stayed the same during the past three years. Crimes that are feared most are those that are most common.
An estimated 79% of South Africans felt safe walking alone in their neighbourhoods during the day, a decrease of 6,7% from last year. About 32% of South Africans felt safe walking alone in their neighbourhoods at night, an increase of 8% from last year.
Police visibility declined between 2016/17 and 2017/18. It is estimated that the proportion of South Africans who never saw a police officer in uniform during the past twelve months increased by 6%. Police visibility was least in the Eastern Cape where the percentage of people who never saw a police officer in uniform during the past twelve months is estimated to be 38%. The percentage of South Africans who were satisfied with police response in 2017/18 was 54%, a decrease of 5,5% from the previous year. The most common (34,4%) reason for dissatisfaction with the police was that “they don’t respond in time”. The most common reason for dissatisfaction in 2016/17 was “they don’t recover goods”. South Africans who were satisfied with the courts dropped by 8,5% from last year to 41%.
The full report is available on the Statistics South Africa website: www.statssa.gov.za