Victims of Crime Survey 2016/17


MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                       28 September 2017

Victims of Crime Survey 2016/17

Statistics South Africa, released the 2016/17 Victims of Crime Survey results on Thursday September 28th,. According to this survey, crime experienced by households and individuals aged 16 years and older, has been decreasing between 2013/14 and 2016/17. Approximately 7% households in South Africa were victims of crime in 2016/17, compared to about 9% households in 2015/16. The estimated number of incidents of crime also decreased for many types of crime. For example housebreaking incidents decreased by 8%; home robbery decreased by 25% and theft of personal property decreased by 12%. However, hijacking of motor vehicles increase and sexual offence increased sharply by 93% and 110% respectively. Estimates for hijacking and sexual offence, however, should be used cautiously as they fall under the second level of quality (acceptable statistics) due to the small number of respondents that experienced these types of crime.

An estimated total of 1,5 million crime incidents were experienced by approximately 1,2 million households in 2016/17. Male-headed households had a higher percentage (7,5%) of victimisation compared to female-headed households (6,6%). Whilst households headed by coloured (8,9%) household heads were the most likely to be victimised, households headed by black Africans (6,9%) were the least likely to be victimised by crime.

A comparison of crime types shows that housebreaking/burglary (53%) was the most common crime experienced by households in 2016/17, followed by theft of livestock (11%) and home robbery (10%). Theft of personal property tops the individual crime list at 42 percent, followed by assault (18 %) and robbery (16%).

Further analysis showed that household’s feelings of safety when it is dark continued to deteriorate over the years. It is not surprising that a large number of households have actively taken measures to make their homes (51%) and vehicles (41%) more secure. Although households took measures to protect their property, the fear of crime persists and prevent them from engaging in daily activities such as going to open spaces (32%), allowing children to play outside (20%) and walking to town (15%).

The study highlighted that households’ confidence in police services and courts has been gradually eroding over the years. Households that held negative attitudes about the police felt that the police could not recover stolen goods (59%), whereas those that were disgruntled with court services said that courts were too lenient towards criminals.


About the report

The Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) is an annual household-based survey that aims to provide information about the dynamics of crime. The survey explores public perceptions of the activities of the police, prosecutors, courts and correctional services in the prevention of crime and victimisation. VOCS also serves as a complementary data source on the levels of crime in South Africa.

The full report is available on the Statistics South Africa website:


Issued by Statistics South Africa


For technical enquiries:

Ms Gwen Lehloenya

Acting Deputy Director-General: Population and Social Statistics

Tel: 012 310 9324



Dr Raphael Kasonga

Director: Social Statistics

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