Housebreaking perceived to be most common crime: Survey

Six out of ten South African households perceive housebreaking/burglary to be one of the most common types of crimes with approximately 62% of households believing that property and violent crimes were likely to be committed by people from their area.

Releasing the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) 2012 yesterday, Statistics South Africa said housebreaking/burglary was experienced at least once by 5.4% of households in 2011.

According to the survey, most housebreaking incidents occurred at night followed by afternoon hours.

The Eastern Cape at 38.3% and KwaZulu-Natal at 36.4% had the highest percentage of housebreaking/burglary incidents followed by Mpumalanga. Almost 20% of housebreaking took place in the afternoon with the highest percentage in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.

The survey, which aims to measure households’ perception about crime, found that housebreaking was least likely to occur in the afternoon in Limpopo and North West.

The survey also provides complementary data about crime statistics that are published by the South African Police Service.

Over 60% of households thought that criminals were more likely to be motivated by drug-related needs rather than greed at 56% and non-financial motives at 25.3%.

In 2011, 35% of households – up from 33% in 2010 – were prevented from going to open spaces/parks due to a fear of crime.

Following housebreaking was home robbery at 1.5% and theft of livestock at 1.3%.

Male-headed households were more likely at 62.8% to feel safe when walking alone during the day than female-headed households, said Deputy Director General for Population and Social Statistics at Stats SA, Kefiloe Masiteng.

The most common crime experienced by selected individuals aged 16 and older, was theft of personal property at 2.5%.

When coming to the public’s perceptions about the police in 2010, 65% were satisfied with the performance of the police compared to the 62% in 2011. According to the report, 77% of those surveyed were satisfied with police coming to the scene of the crime.

A total of 66.8% of households were of the view that social and or economic development was a more effective way of reducing crime with less than 20% of households indicated that more money should be spent on law enforcement in order to combat crime.

In April, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said that under government’s New Growth Path over 500 000 jobs had been created, since it was implemented in October 2010. The NGP sets out to create five million jobs by 2020.

Murder was the most likely form of a crime to be reported at 98.2% in 2011, followed by car theft while crimes least likely to be reported in 2011 were motor vehicle vandalism and theft of livestock.

A total of 91.5% of households were found to know where to take someone to access medical services if they fell victim to violent crime.

Meanwhile, just below 60% of households would first contact the police if they became victims of crime.

Approximately 5% of households in South Africa reported being asked to pay a bribe in return for services from government officials. “It is widely believed that citizens are being asked for a bribe by government officials for the services they are legally required to perform,” read the report.

Masiteng said there was a “multitude of reasons” as to why people were involved in bribes.

Nationally 64.1% of households indicated that they were satisfied with the way the courts do their work with the Northern Cape displaying the highest number level of satisfaction at 75.7%.

The survey was conducted between January and December 2011. – SAnews.gov.za.