News / Africa

Crime Study: South Africans Fear Housebreaking Most

Residents walk through shacks in Cape Town's crime-ridden Khayelitsha township, July 9, 2012.
Residents walk through shacks in Cape Town's crime-ridden Khayelitsha township, July 9, 2012.
Nadia Samie
A new study that examines perceptions of crime in Africa’s largest economy indicates South Africans fear burglary, or housebreaking, the most.

South Africa has long had one of the highest crime rates in the world. Despite a recent drop in violent crimes, most South Africans still have fear.

The latest crime-perceptions study by government-appointed Statistics SA indicates that six-out-of-10 households are worried about housebreakings and robbery more than any other crime.  

Thirty-thousand rural and suburban households in all nine provinces were polled for the 2012 “Victims of Crime” report.

Perceptions

Kefiloe Masiteng, the deputy director-general of Statistics SA, explains the purpose of the survey.

"The objective of the Victims of Crime is to get a sense of people and the populations’ perceptions of crime and how it manifests itself.  Then there are also issues in terms of the effectiveness of the services that they get from the police and the courts," said Masiteng. "And then they also give a sense of what crimes are more feared, and what is more common. This is the information that is supposed to be used to make sure that the policy-makers in the crime and justice system are able to understand how the people feel, so they are able to respond correctly."

In suburban parts of South Africa, it is normal to see homes with burglar bars on every window and a security gate on every door. Most families - if they can afford to - also employ a private security service, which will patrol the area, monitor the house’s alarm system and provide armed response 24 hours a day to a housebreaking.

With that in mind, it does not come as a surprise that burglary is greatly feared. Masiteng broke down the survey’s main findings.

"What has been very clear is that about 59 percent of households in the country perceive housebreaking or burglary to be one of the most common crimes. It’s followed by home robbery and street robbery, and then pick-pocketing. So people are more scared of those four. The other one that came into that rank, at 38.8 percent of households, was murder, as one of the most feared types of crimes."

Public 'feels' vulnerable

The survey was released just a week after the release of the official police crime statistics, and the figures show citizens' perceptions here are not affected by government efforts to reduce crime.   

While police figures show a decrease in certain crimes, South Africans typically indicated they feel less safe in their homes than they did a year before.

Masiteng said what is important to note is that the police figures represent actual crimes, while her survey represents the way citizens actually feel. She said the crime perception among communities will only drop once the actual crime figures come down more significantly.

The perception study also indicates that many South Africans fear walking alone.

Twenty-nine-old Gail Swartz said it depends where in the country you live.

"I live in Cape Town, SA. I live in the City Center. And what crime I fear the most is petty crime in the CBD [Central Business District], said Swartz. "But my concerns on a bigger scale are for family and friends who live in the suburbs, where an increase of housebreak-ins and possibly murder occurs."

No faith in police

Bryan Pritchard lives in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. He said he feels relatively safe, but only because of the precautions he takes.

”Well, the suburb that I live in is basically in the upper-class side of Johannesburg, where I feel it’s quite safe to walk in the evenings. That being said, because there is an armed response driving around in the evenings," said Pritchard. "But in the same light, I don’t feel safe without my alarm being set, without security gates being closed, and being basically being locked into my cage in the evenings, otherwise I don’t feel safe. Monthly, I spend about U.S. 45 dollars on security for my house and vehicles.”

The Victims of Crime perceptions study also has found that many South Africans have lost faith in their police service. Some respondents said they simply do not bother to report crime, as they do not believe anything will ever come of the case.

Masiteng said those perceptions, however, are not universal.

"People feel that yes, there is a lot of trust around the police and how they respond. But you still have about 34.6 percent of households that say they are not very confident with the way that police respond to the crime scenes. Some, about 15 percent, just simply said they feel the police are poorly organized, and are lazy to do their work," said Masiteng.

Also, many families are opting to keep their children away from parks and outside recreation areas, and refuse to use public transport, fearing it would put them and their loved ones at risk.

You May Like

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Marisa Kindle from: South Africa
October 09, 2012 3:49 PM
well, that isn't the least of it... we fear people injecting us with AIDS filled syringes on the public transportation, in bus stops, at all social venues... the Whites here are terrified and in constant fear of being gang raped... by the way, the "people" i alluded to... well, you know which segment of the population they are... it just isn't PC to say... and "PC" has robbed us of free speech...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid