The general level of crime as estimated by VOCS has been declining during the past five years but increased in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Household crimes increased by 5% to a total of 1,5 million incidences of crime while individual crime also increased by 5% to a total of 1,6 incidences, affecting 1,4 million individuals aged 16 and above. Northern Cape had the highest increase in both household and individual crimes. Housebreaking or burglary was the most dominant (54%) crime category among crimes measured by the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS). An estimated total of 830 thousand incidences of housebreaking occurred in 2017/18, affecting 4,25% of all South African households. Nearly 32% of items stolen during housebreaking were clothes, followed by cellphones (24%) and food (22%).
An estimated 156 thousand home robberies occurred last year, affecting 0,8% of all South African households. This was an increase of 3% compared to the previous year. Theft of livestock, poultry and other animals which occurred in 2017/18, is estimated at 159 thousand incidences, affecting 0,77% of households in South Africa. The number of incidences increased by 1% compared to the previous year.
Murder increased during the past three years both in terms of the total number of incidences (VOCS) and the number of cases reported to the police (SAPS). It is estimated that 16 809 incidences of murder occurred in 2017/18, which is an increase of 4% compared to the previous year. Usually VOCS figures are higher than SAPS figures because not all crime incidents are reported to the police. This is not the case for murder, where SAPS figures are double the VOCS figures. Not all murders are known to households, for example murders of immigrants or street people, which is one of the reasons that SAPS figures are higher than those of VOCS.
The percentage of households who think that the levels of violent crimes increased during the past three years is greater for 2017/18 (42,1%) when compared to the figure for 2016/17 (39,4%). The percentage of households who feel safe walking in their neighbourhoods during the day declined from 84,8% in 2016/17 to 79,1% in 2017/18. The level of satisfaction with the police and courts continued to decline, more rapidly in the case of courts.
The percentage of households who were satisfied with the police services in their area decreased from 57,3% in 2016/17 to 54,2% in 2017/18. The percentage of households who were satisfied with the way courts generally deal with perpetrators decreased from 44,9% in 2016/17 to 41,1% in 2017/18. Satisfaction with the police declined in every province except the Western Cape and Free State, while satisfaction with the courts declined in every province except the North West.
Satisfaction and trust with the effectiveness of Correctional Services were also surveyed. An estimated 49,8% of households were satisfied with the way Correctional Services rehabilitate criminals. Among households that knew a former prisoner, 58,7% of households were satisfied with Correctional Services while 42,6% of households that did not know a former prisoner were satisfied with Correctional Services. On the question of trust, 79,6% of households were willing to welcome a former prisoner in their place of worship while 22,2% of households were willing to marry a former prisoner. Black Africans had the highest level of trust in Correctional Services where 51,6% were willing to offer employment to a former prisoner and 24,6% were willing to marry a former prisoner. The Indian/Asian population had the least trust with 30,9% willing to employ a former prisoner while 9,1% were willing to marry a former prisoner.
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