While official statistics released last week showed an overall decline in crime, young South Africans disagree.
This is according to consumer insights company Pondering Panda conducted a survey amongst 1,968 respondents, aged 18 to 34, across South Africa immediately after the release of the latest crime statistics last week.
The results showed that 62 per cent of young South Africans think crime is increasing compared to a year ago while only 19% feel that things are improving, and an equal number (19%) feel that crime patterns remain the same.
In the Eastern Cape the average figures were even higher, with 69% of those interviewed saying they believed crime was on the increase.
There were significant demographic differences in perceptions. Women were more likely than men to think crime is getting worse, with 67% of female respondents saying crime is worse than a year ago, compared to 56% of males.
Perception of crime trends also differed by race group. Whites were more likely to think crime was getting worse (68%) than Blacks (59%).
Roughly 74% of Coloureds felt that crime has increased in the past year, while Indians had the most negative outlook, with 80% thinking crime is up.
“Youth opinion about crime clearly does not match official statistics,” said Butch Rice of Pondering Panda. “The Government claims that crime stats are improving are falling on deaf ears, as it is clearly not a perception shared by South Africa’s youth.”
“Other surveys we have conducted show that crime and unemployment are the two most important issues concerning young South Africans when considering their future prospects in this country,” he said.
“By releasing stats that are not seen to be credible, the faith of young South Africans in the political process is being further eroded from its already low level. This can only result in alienation from the political process, with a resultant low turn out in the next election.”
Responses to the survey were weighted to be nationally representative of age, gender and race.
Pondering Panda conducts more interviews than any other market research company in Africa. Pondering Panda is a member of the World of Avatar group, which also owns Mxit. All interviews were conducted on cell phones with Mxit users.