40% believe crime has dropped - survey
Johannesburg - More than 40% of households believed the level of violent and non-violent crime had decreased in their area of residence between 2008 and 2010, results of a survey released by Statistics SA on Thursday found.
Less than 35% said crime had increased, while about a quarter of the population believed crime had stayed the same.
Fifty three percent of households - more than half - perceived housebreaking and burglary to be one of the most common crimes, followed by home robbery (49.7%) and pick pocketing (28.5%).
Crimes perceived to be the most feared in the householder's area of residence were home robbery (50.4%), housebreaking (50.2%), street robbery (39.7%) and murder (34.1%).
In 2010 a third of households (33.3%) avoided going to open spaces alone because of their fear of crime, followed by only 22.2% of households who would not allow their children to move around unsupervised by an older person or play freely in their area.
Only 14.7% of households would not allow their children to walk to school alone.
Male-headed households were much more likely (54.1%) to feel safe when walking alone during the day than female-headed households (34.1%).
Households headed by white males (63.8%) tended to feel safer when walking alone during the day than males from other population groups.
More than 60% of households believed that property and violent crimes were likely to be committed by people from their area.
About 32% believed crimes were committed by people from other areas, while about seven percent thought that the perpetrators of crime in their neighbourhoods were people from outside South Africa.
Fifty seven percent of households thought criminals were motivated by real needs, rather than greed (45.9%) and non-financial motives (38.7%).
About 20% thought criminals were motivated by behavioural issues such as drug use.
About half of the households took physical measures to protect their homes, nearly a quarter took physical measures to protect their vehicles and 5.3% carried a weapon for protection.
Two thirds (66%) of households believed social and/or economic development was the more effective way of reducing crime.
Twenty one percent of households said resources should be focused on law enforcement to combat crime, and only 13% felt that resources should be allocated to the judiciary and courts to reduce crime.
The vast majority (90.5%) knew where to take a victim of crime for medical help, while only 47% knew where to take someone for counselling and 16.7% knew where to find a shelter for a victim of domestic violence or abuse.
More than 70% of households would take a victim of crime to a hospital, trauma unit, or local clinic for medical help.
Only about three percent would go to a victim empowerment centre or traditional leader.