Burglary the most feared crime: Survey

By Drum Digital
27 September 2012

Most South Africans fear falling victim to housebreaking, a crime survey has revealed.

Releasing the results of 2012 Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) in Pretoria on Thursday, Statistics SA deputy director general Kefiloe Masiteng said about 59.3 percent of households perceived burglary as the most common crime.

"We were asking families what are the most feared types of crimes.

"Housebreaking and robbery came out to be the crimes that people are worried about," said Masiteng.

Housebreaking is classified as unlawful and intentional entry into a building intending to commit crime while nobody is in the dwelling.

The study found that burglary was the most common crime, and had been experienced at least once by 5.4 percent of the households reviewed, followed by home robbery at 1.5 percent and theft of livestock at 1.3 percent.

Theft of personal property, at 2.5 percent, was the most common crime experienced by selected individuals aged 16 years and older, followed by assault at 1.3 percent.

The survey found that most housebreakings occurred at night, at 27.5 percent, with 19.8 percent in the afternoons.

The period under review was January to December 2011.

In its overview, researchers noted that it was widely believed that people were being asked for bribes by government officials for services they were legally required to perform.

Gauteng had the highest rate of households asked for bribes by government officials, at 58.4 percent. Next was the Free State at 53.7 percent and Mpumalanga at 53.6 percent.

The number of households satisfied with the performance of the police declined on the previous year.

"We had a percentage of 65 in 2010, but we had a 62 percent satisfaction with regards to satisfaction with the police performance [in 2011]," said Masiteng.

The perception about police performance was influenced by factors including the time taken to respond to crime scenes, visible policing and the recovery of stolen goods by the police.

The survey focused on people's perceptions and experiences of crime, and their views regarding their access to the police and the justice system.

The target population of the survey was private households in all nine provinces.

It did not cover other living quarters like student hostels, old age homes, hospitals, prisons and military barracks.

The survey sought to provide information about the dynamics of crime in the country from the perception of households and victims of crime.

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