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891 000 homes affected by housebreakings in South Africa

In 2019/20 an estimated 1,2 million incidences of housebreaking occurred, affecting 891 000 households in South Africa.

The number of affected households represents 5,3% of all households in the country, according to the 2019 Victims of Crime Survey..

Almost 52 % of households that experienced housebreaking reported it to the police.

An estimated 169 000 incidences of home robberies occurred, affecting 139 000 households in 2019/20.

The number of affected households represents 0,8% of all households in the country. About 55%  of households that experienced home robbery reported it to the police.

Theft of motor vehicles was experienced by 82 000 households in 2019/20 in a total of 88 000 incidences. Less than 1% of all households in the country experienced theft of motor vehicles.

About 79%  of households that experienced theft of motor vehicles reported the crime to the police, which is a 7,6% decrease compared to the previous year.

There was a total of 72 000 incidences of deliberate damaging, burning, or destruction of residential dwellings affecting 52 000 households (0,3%). More than half (55,4%) of the affected households reported the crime to the police.

Individual crime levels in South Africa

An estimated 1,1 million incidences of theft of personal property occurred in 2019/20, affecting 902 000 individuals aged 16 years and older.

The number of affected individuals represents 2,2% of the population.

About 38% of individuals who experienced theft of personal property reported it to the police, which is a 6,2% increase compared to the previous year.

A total of 451 000 (1,1% of adults aged 16 and older) individuals experienced street robbery in a total of 561 000 incidences.

About 42,0% of the victims reported the crime to the police.

There were 294 000 incidences of assault in 2019/20 experienced by 225 000 individuals (0,6% of adults aged 16 and older).

About 42% of the victims of assault reported the crime to the police, which is a 8,6% decrease compared to the previous year.

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A total of 384 000 (1,0% of adults aged 16 and older) individuals experienced customer fraud in a total of 1,4 million incidences.

A larger number of these incidences is attributed to advance-fee fraud (e.g. the R99 credit/debit card scam, 419 scams). Results show that 26,0% of the victims reported the crime to the police, which is a 21,0% decrease compared to the previous year.

An estimated 99 000 hijackings occurred in 2019/20, affecting 85 000 (0,2%) persons aged 16 years and older.

A total of 78% of the victims reported the crime to the police, which is a 7% decrease compared to the previous year.

Feelings of safety

About 87% of the population felt safe walking alone in their neighbourhood during the day while 41,8% felt safe walking alone in their neighbourhood during the night.

Both figures increased from 2018/19. Males in general felt safer walking alone in their neighbourhood than females.

Similarly, rural residents had a greater feeling of safety walking alone in their areas when it is dark than residents in urban areas.

Citizen interaction and community cohesion

Households in rural areas were more likely to have knowledge of their neighbours’ names than those in urban areas. Eastern Cape had the highest proportions of households who know their neighbours’ names, while Gauteng had the least.

Overall, there was no significant increase in the number of households who would ask any of their next-door neighbours to watch their house if they were going away between 2015/16 (84,1%) and 2019/20 (85,8%).

Notwithstanding, households in rural areas were more likely to ask any of their next-door neighbours to watch their house if they were going away than households in urban areas.

The survey shows that households who trust their neighbours to look after their children increased significantly between 2015/16 and 2016/17; however, this figure decreased again between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

There was a very minor difference in households who trust their neighbours to look after their children between 2017/18 and 2019/20.

The results further show that most households indicated that there are no active forums that discuss or deal with community-related issues, and this was prevalent in all types of settlements.

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