Crime Statistics Series Volume 4

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                                                                        31 May 2017

Exploring the extent of and circumstances surrounding housebreaking/burglary and home robbery: An in-depth analysis of the Victims of Crime Survey data, 2015/2016, Crime Statistics Series Volume 4

According to the report “Exploring the extent of and circumstances surrounding housebreaking/burglary and home robbery” released by Statistics South Africa today, it is estimated that 670 000 households in South Africa experienced housebreaking/burglary  while about 160 000 households experienced home robberies in 2015/16.  Housebreaking/burglary accounted for over 50% of all crimes experienced by households, followed by home robbery which was experienced by 12% of households in South Africa. Although the prevalence of housebreaking/burglary and home robbery declined during the last five years, the proportion of households that think that crime is increasing has been growing. Moreover, an increasing proportion of households do not feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhoods during the day and at night. These perceptions may have emanated from the fact that home robbery reporting has been increasing.

While reporting of home robbery has been increasing, this was not the case with reporting of housebreaking. In 2015/16 just over half of housebreaking/burglary (53%) incidents and 66% of home robbery incidents were reported to the police. The results also show that the odds of a white-headed household reporting housebreaking to the police were significantly higher than those of a black/African-headed household doing the same. In about 19% of the incidents of housebreakings/burglaries and home robberies reported to the police, an arrest was made. The conviction rate among suspects of housebreaking/burglary was 14,3% and 22% among those accused of home robbery. The study showed that in incidents where no arrests were made after reporting housebreaking/burglary, households were more likely to be dissatisfied with the police, compared to when arrests are made. This study also revealed that incidents of housebreaking/burglary and home robberies occurred mostly at night and items commonly stolen were electrical equipment.

A further analysis suggests that long distances to police stations and lengthy police response times to emergency calls are factors that increase the odds of housebreaking/burglary and home robbery incidents in South Africa. Existence of community crime prevention forums increased the odds of reporting housebreaking/burglary to the police. This emphasises the need to promote community crime prevention forums, building more police stations closer to the people and improving police response times in order to reduce housebreaking/burglary and home robbery and improve on crime reporting.

About the report

The report entitled “Exploring the extent of and circumstances surrounding housebreaking/burglary and home robbery” is part of a series of reports produced by Statistics South Africa. It is an in-depth analysis of the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) data collected in 2015/16 in conjunction with data from the South African Police Services (SAPS) focusing on housebreaking and home robbery.

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

Issued by Statistics South Africa

For technical enquiries:

Dr Kefiloe Masiteng

Deputy Director-General: Population & Social Statistics

Tel: (012) 310 4663


Dr Isabelle Schmidt

Chief Director: Social Statistics

Tel: (012) 337 6379
Cell: 082 884 4281


For media enquiries contact:

Lesedi Dibakwane

Director: Public and Media Relations

Tel: 012 310 8578

Cell: 082 805 7088