A large number South Africans feel unsafe in their own neighbourhoods because of the fear that crime has increased, according to Statistics SA.
StatSA’s Victims of Crime Survey 2014/15 found that 43.6% of 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 between 2011 and 2014, while 27.6% thought that crime was still at the same levels.
In the period 2010 to 2013, 41.2% of households felt that crime was increasing.
It found that 85.4% of households felt safe walking alone in their area during the day, while 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 would not allow their children to walk to school unaccompanied by an adult.
Because of the fear of crime, 51.6% of households took physical protection measures for their homes, while more than 29% of households took physical protection measures for their vehicles.
57% of households satisfied with police
The survey said under-reporting of crime incidents to the police remained a major concern in the country.
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%).
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.”
When asked about what they perceived to be the motive of perpetrators when committing property crimes, the majority of households said property crime was committed because of drug-related needs (77%).
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.