According to the Victims of Crime Survey 2017/18, housebreaking or burglary still appears to be a significant issue in South Africa, accounting for 54% of all household crimes reported in the survey. The survey results were based on crime figures put together by Statistics South Africa, which were estimated from household surveys. These findings highlight the importance of understanding the dynamics of the crime from the perspective of victims of crimes and households.
The survey also delves into public perceptions of law enforcement agencies and the members of correctional services in the prevention of crime and victimization.
The survey estimates show that aggregate crime rates have increased in 2017/18 compared to 2016/17. Namely, an estimated 832 122 incidences of housebreaking were reported, which is an alarming 7% increase compared to the previous year. The number of incidents of home robbery has skyrocketed as well, jumping from 151,279 in 2016/17 to 156,089 in 2017/18 — constituting an increase of 3% from last year.
Theft of personal property continued to be the most dominant type of individual crimes. However, SA law enforcement has reportedly found a way to reduce the individual crime rate as there were 2% fewer incidences of theft or personal property in 2017/18 than they were in the previous year.
Apparently, the police force in the country doesn't have enough manpower nor the resources to protect the country’s citizens. Considering the fact that SAPS is constituted by just over 191,000 police officers, most of which are office-based within the provincial managerial and bloated national offices, who have to safe-keep over 57 million people, it has evidently become a mission impossible to tackle the challenge of crime accordingly.
Nearly half of the South African population (46%) feel dissatisfied with the police. The most common reason for dissatisfaction was ‘they don’t respond in time’.
The fear of crime keeps growing in SA communities and South Africans were quite skeptical about the effectiveness of police protection and crime prevention in the country. Reportedly, an estimated 79% of South African residents are not scared to walk alone in their neighborhoods during the day, which constitutes a 6,7% decrease from the previous year. Surprisingly, the reports have shown that more South Africans (32%) feel safe walking alone in their neighborhoods at night, then they were in the prior year.
Burglary remains a major headache in South African society, and will most likely remain to be a problem for as long as a large proportion of the population is experiencing unemployment, and the accompanying poverty.