Common myths about crime in SA

2011-09-05 10:58

When the SA Police Service reports its annual crime statistics this month, South Africans will continue their debate about crime in their beloved country. This is an important conversation, but it is sometimes undermined by mistaken beliefs. Our research at the Institute for Security Studies has identified a number of common mistakes the public often make when they think about crime.

Violent crime is increasing in South Africa
This is simply not true. The statistics from 2009/10 suggest that violent crime is levelling out or decreasing. The one category of crime that has increased since 2003/4 is commercial crime, also known as white-collar crime.

South Africa has the highest crime or murder rate in the world
South Africa is the only country in Africa that provides annual up-to-date statistics, so we don’t have an accurate comparison with the rest of the continent. We actually only compare our crime rate to less than half of the countries in the world, most of them developed western nations with greater prosperity and a more established data collection systems.

Crime is the most common cause of death or injury
The reality is that disease and vehicle and other accidents kill and hurt far more people than crime does.

Poverty causes crime
High levels of inequality, such as those in South Africa, are more closely related to murder than poverty.

Women and girls are more likely than men to be victims of crime
Again, this is not true. Young black men are more likely to be crime victims, particularly victims of murder as was demonstrated in paper by Kopano Ratele, presented at the ISS’s international conference on crime in December 2010

The police can prevent all sorts of crime
In fact the police can do very little to prevent many types of crime, including murder, assault, domestic violence, rape and burglary. The police do have an important role in the investigation of such crimes and ensuring that they reach court, but the actual causes of these crimes are societal and require social solutions.

Poor townships and informal settlements are dangerous
The evidence, cited by Michael O’Donovan, in a paper published recently by the ISS is that poorer areas generally have lower rates of reported property and violent crime than more affluent areas. His research also showed that it is the location of poor and rich areas in proximity to one another that influences levels of crime.

Nationally and internationally, it has been found that inequality contributes to high rates of crime, especially murder. Inequality also reduces the development of social capital. Quite simply, social capital is about shared interests and values.

O’Donovan shows that while inequality within an area does not contribute to crime levels, inequality between areas does do so significantly. In other words, when people with different or highly unequal levels of income live in the same place there is less likelihood of a high rate of violent and property crime, than if you have two communities situated close to one another with vastly different income levels. Throw in the fact that the differences between the two communities are likely to be differences of race or ethnicity as well as class, and you have a situation in which building social capital  - or shared interests - is close to impossible.

Changing this means changing the way in which cities and towns are settled so that rich and poor live close to one another in the same areas.

- The Institute for Security Studies and its Crime and Justice Programme has looked at reasons why some of these crime myths and misperceptions are so hard to change. 

We don’t get enough information
The SA Police Service is good at releasing annual statistics, but once a year is not enough. More regular releases of information and figures about crime would be helpful in preventing people from relying on the media and gossip for their information and analysis of crime.

The media paints a skewed picture of crime
We recognise that in journalism it is bad news that makes a good story. But the public need to be aware that newspapers and television news will tend to focus on the worst incidents. This creates the impression that they happen more often than they do. For example, most media reports of house robberies involve a rape, murder or serious injury. In reality, only about 2% of house robberies result in a murder, 4% in a rape and 12% in an injury.

Crime and police programmes on TV present an unrealistic picture of policing
The real world of crime and policing in South Africa is very different to what people see on CSI.

  • Daemos1 - 2011-09-05 11:05

    See, we're not living in hell

      Daemos1 - 2011-09-05 11:05

      hell comes later

      Buic Unix - 2011-09-08 12:31

      I share the same sentiments with ISS...starting with the ANC the biggest crime lords in Africa worse than murderers..they murder our image and demotivates

      Nicholas.Spaggiari - 2011-11-25 18:21

      Rubbish I can't stand lies and yes the media does paint a wrong picture. Speak to the locals, they know better. Firstly the minister in charge of all this has been up for fraud. The same guy has a mandate to reduce crime, if he meets the mandate he gets a fat bonus. He was found messing with the stats but still got his bonus. The other point is this, South Africa now have a bill to control what gets out in the media, the prime reason for this is to cover up the crime, corruption, fraud etc. Why? Because the current exposure is hurting the ANC bad, they are going to lose votes, international relationships are breaking, there is media all over the world naming and shaming them. There are more and more ranking sites coming out, comparing countries in terms of economy, corruption etc. South Africa is failing bad at all of it… So what do they do to avoid this, they create the info Bill. Smart, but so evil and the nation will forget about it in a few months.

      Nicholas.Spaggiari - 2011-11-25 18:24

      SAPS are hopeless at keeping stats, they hardly know how to use a calculator. You can't rely on them coming when you phone them, how can you rely on them for stats? Oh, and let a white girl walk through a township at night and a black man. Tell me which will come out first, unraped.

      Nicholas.Spaggiari - 2011-11-25 18:33

      Check it out:

      Nicholas.Spaggiari - 2012-01-19 00:43

      As for our stats...

  • letswai - 2011-09-05 11:11

    i agree with this article in many ways.

  • Afro-centric - 2011-09-05 11:17

    I share the same sentiments with ISS.

  • Tilly - 2011-09-05 11:26

    There's no justification for crime whether it's down or level! Crime is Crime and the police are known for not giving the correct statistics. We don't live in a dream world, we know and experience the reality ourselves!!

      Tumelo - 2011-09-05 16:26

      get over yourself, for once be proud of you country!!!!!!!!!!!

      jbjoe - 2011-09-06 00:22

      tumelo dude YOU get over yourself...wake up and smell the daisies boet

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-06 00:30

      I agree with Tumelo, for once stop whining, bloody hell people. All you read on this website is white people whining and moaning about black people. Seriously, it's not funny. It's sad and pathetic.

  • Kevin King - 2011-09-05 11:31

    @ Chandré Gould: I'd love for you to comment on my questions. 1: "The public need to be aware that newspapers and television news will tend to focus on the worst incidents" Please go to and then tell me why these crimes are not reported in the media. Surely a baby less than a year old that is set alight should be in the criteria of "worst incidents". Lets compare Reitz 4 or Waterkloof 4 to 4 men, raping, stabbing, impaling with a broomstick to the crimes that the media reports??? 2. Who is Interpol? If you ask me I'd rather believe their stats than the criminally infested SAPS with strong political motives. Interpol reports the murder rate to be 89 per day? 3. Exactly how does inequality cause crime and poverty does not? 4. Final question: What is your opinion on our Stage 6 status by Genocide Watch?

      Tilly - 2011-09-05 11:44

      Just love your article!! Fantastic!!!!

      MnrFotograaf - 2011-09-05 12:29

      Kev, I am sure that you will never get a truthfull answer on most of these questions.

      GH - 2011-09-05 13:48

      Point 3: it's proven that the greater the inequality the greater the violet crime. Look at poor countries like Indonesia for example. In our case we have a complete mixture of cultures and values. Add to that the apartheid history, plus polygamy where young boys at the bottom of the ladder have no hope of securing a partner and there you have a recipe for disaster.

      Kevin King - 2011-09-05 14:48

      @ GH: When you say "greater" do you mean quantity or severity of violence? Maybe I'm wrong but I dont associate this with Indonesia: an elderly woman is stabbed, then gangraped while she's lying helplessly and dying, then her eyes gouged out!

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 16:29

      Kev,nou praat jy kak, ne?

      SiphovdMerwe - 2011-09-05 17:41

      @Kevin, you are an assh0le if you think the Interpol is not corrupt.

      marvo - 2011-09-09 05:11

      Kevin, you seem obsessed with South Africa being the "murder capital of the world" lol (your words - not mine!). Chandre Gould is a professional criminologist. you cannot expect them to comment on cherry-picked crimes - they're making a comment on the genaral situation and the exaggerative nature of some South Africans including yourself - it's their job. Interpol include murder attempts - or they used to - this is why their figures are no longer used. It's strange you keep onbsessing over bad statistics.

      marvo - 2011-09-09 05:13

      How the hell does your dribvel get 70+ likes?

  • Jedi knight - 2011-09-05 11:32

    Dear Chandré Gould, ISS Are the crime stats up to date in South africa and are they infact true? Please tell this to all the victims of farm attacks and murders, be they black or white.Tell this to all the victims of car hijacking/murders, like the 64year old woman killed in westville shot 3 times for her car. Tell this to the woman and children raped and abused who have little or no recourse.Tell this to the protesters who are murdered and abused by the police.I think that about does it........

      marvo - 2011-09-09 05:12

      Your comment doesn't address what she said, it's irelavant.

  • Piet Opperman - 2011-09-05 11:49

    "In reality, only about 2% of house robberies result in a murder, 4% in a rape and 12% in an injury." Only??? That one word makes a mockery of the suffering that is embedded in South Africa's crime situation. This propaganda from the ISS is so full of holes and weaseling that it is worthy of comparison to the efforts of the Apartheid government at it's worst.

      Tumelo - 2011-09-05 16:30

      Onlty because the stats don't comply with your biased view of SA don't necessarily make them inaccurate!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Besides, what does ISS gain from manuplating the stats?

  • Irene - 2011-09-05 12:08

    Lets work on an average of eg. 100 000 house robberies per year (I'm sure it's more), so according to this article "ONLY" 2000 people are murdered "ONLY" 4000 are raped and "ONLY" 12000 injured????? This article SUCKS!!!

      Felix - 2011-09-05 12:52

      The rest of the time there was no-one home.

      Tumelo - 2011-09-05 16:32

      Can you not realise that the article is bringing to light that our societal values need to be corrected, why do you always find negativity in every thing?

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 16:39

      It's not the article that sucks, but Irene that sucks. In her mind, South Africa must be this hell on Earth, because otherwise how else can she feel justified to moan and whine about our country? Irene, you give white people a bad name.

      Kevin King - 2011-09-06 00:40

      @ Adolph: 1. Please state that you are an Afrikaner 2. Comment on this:

      Darter - 2011-09-08 09:35've increased the number of house robberies by six/seven fold, and have the guts to call that an "average". The article sucks just as much as your imaginary statistics. For example, Sandton (Johannesburg) has been at the number 2 spot for home invasions/house robberies for the past few years, with about 300 house robberies a year (not just police stats. stats from private security, insurance companies, Sandton police community forum, etc etc). 2% makes that about 6 murders in all suburbs under the Sandton metro. Although 1 murder is too many, it just brings things into perspective.

  • ahpretorius - 2011-09-05 12:26

    So the ISS claims that South Africa does not have the highest murder and rape rates in the world... Only the highest rates for countries that measure these alarming stats! So the person who wins the 100m sprint at the Olympics is not the fastest man in the world... Only the fastest one measured... The writer of the article is an idiot who damagedthe reputation of the ISS.

      mfundiNdaba - 2011-09-05 13:59

      "So the person who wins the 100m sprint at the Olympics is not the fastest man in the world... Only the fastest one measured..." Errrrrrm yeah!!! So Miss South Africa is the prettiest/compatible girl in south africa? or is she the prettiest/compatible out of the ones who entered the competition?

      Tumelo - 2011-09-05 16:35

      the key word in that article is that we compare our stats to DEVELOPED nations whose inequality is less and resources are far much better!!!! in short, we are comparing our stats with countries we wish to be like not with countries at the same level as us!

      piet.strydom - 2011-09-05 17:14

      Ai Tumelo, it is good to be postive, but you must still have your facts correct. According to Wikipedia, SA's murder rate is 34 per 100 000 people. Putting it in 12th on the list. Above DEVELOPED countries like Botswana with 12. (Where regime change is needed!! Why?!) CAR, where there is a war on, with 30, Rwanda and Sudan!! with 27, Zambia 23, Nigeria 1.3 (sic!)! The following African countries are below 18, i.e. half of SA's rate: Liberia, Eritrea, Gabon, Mauritania, Gambia, Togo, Benin, Swaziland, Commores, madagascar, etc, etc, etc. In fact in the 11 countries above us on the list, only 2 are from Africa... Lesotho and DRC, one of which has a war going on. All our neighbours, excluding Lesotho, is way below us on the list. Even Zimbabwe is at 8.4 - although I must say that that number is about 6 years old, and I am sure mad Bob will exclude all murders committed to save the elections....

      AyshaP - 2011-09-05 23:09

      For real piet.strydom? You take info provided on Wikipedia as gospel? I'm sorry your comment cannot be taken seriously. Everyone knows Wikipedia is open to all sorts of updating. You don't get more unreliable than that.

  • MnrFotograaf - 2011-09-05 12:27

    Strange how this person's report make no mention of the crime against the Boers, which is proporionately way out of control. Even stranger that genocide watch has placed the white Boers on level 6(orange)...with crime in decline?

      Tumelo - 2011-09-05 16:39

      This whole white crime thing is nothing but utter rubbish, those farmers are not attacked becaues they are white but becaues they live in isolated areas were help is not easily accessable. Criminals are opportunist. SWo stop being paranoid ancd do something about the crime as an SA citizen!

      jbjoe - 2011-09-06 00:29

      'This whole white crime thing is nothing but utter rubbish..." So is your mom, idiot

  • rantoftheday - 2011-09-05 12:27

    So we should be happy that 4% of robberies involve a rape as well?

  • Steve - 2011-09-05 12:51

    I love this article? Full of 'correct' stats because we all know that when the Police release stats they are correct???Has the author actually lived in SA?Has he/she not seen the media pointing out the skewed stats?Is the HRC wrong?Are we all living in cuckooland?Why so many leave SA?Well tonight I will sleep well knowng that ISS has made me feel safer.Thank goodness.

      Tilly - 2011-09-05 12:56


      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 16:33

      Ek dink Steve soek maar net 'n rede om Oz toe te gaan. Luister, niemand stop jou nie. Maak net seker jy drink nie bitter pis as jy uit vind dat Oz het net so'n groot probleem met huisbraak nie (veral in Brisbane, Sydney en Melbourne).

      Tumelo - 2011-09-05 16:43

      So the HRC is correct because it confirms your preconcieved notions about a violant bloody SA? YOU ARE A CLASSICAL CASE OF SOMEONE GOING THROUGH DENIALISM. wake and smell the coffe, SA is going places and you getting left behind!

      Jannie - 2011-09-05 17:12

      Herr Adolf. As jy regtig glo Oz se crime is net so groot soos SA s'n was jy seker nog nie in enige van die twee lande nie.

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 22:32

      Nee sweetie (@Jannie), Oz het 'n GROOT probleem met huisbraak, vra vir enige persoon wat in Brisbane in bly, en as jy ooit Alice Springs toe gaan , maak seker jou deure is gesluit en dat jou motor in die garage is, anders more oggend is daar niks meer petrol in die tank nie. Die abbos hou daarvan om die petrol te suig en snuif.

  • The Gecko - 2011-09-05 12:56

    The police can do one major thing to prevent crime - catch, charge and sentence the criminals, thus ensuring that crime does not, in fact, pay. At the moment crime pays, because one is very likely to get away with it...

      Mike Connelly - 2011-09-06 08:05

      Pal, I hear you...The Po Po can do the best they can do but when the jails are full, what are they supposed to do? We definitely need a few more :)

  • falcon2020 - 2011-09-05 13:16

    Gauranteed that SMME's are tired of opening SAPS cases for insurance purposes, white collar crime is out of control! If nobody is murdered don't even bother. Ask any entrepeneur in this country and they will tell you staff pilferage on many and every level in organisations are rampant --- this work ethic and general social herd nature of entitlement is what is keeping us back ito Social Capital! Nobody can trust anybosy else!

  • CEA - 2011-09-05 13:29

    400 rape cases a year is not good, but if there is 20000 house brakes a year, now it is fine, because now it is only 2% of the total! (Sarcasm)

      CEA - 2011-09-05 13:31

      Sorry 2% or 400 murders, and 800 rape cases. out of 20000 brake ins. yah rite

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 16:33

      Fail at maths

      Fredjohn - 2011-09-09 20:40

      Not looking at race South African system is totally screwed, in SA a home invader actually has rights, here where I now live in Canada anyone that breaks into a home has no rights. One is allowed to defend yourself using any means and you still are not in the wrong. Stats say the SA economy is equal to Denmarks economy. How can SA claim that the poorer people are more prone to violence. Just more of South African excuses. No law can change the behaviour of people only they can change themselves if they want to.

  • Enuff - 2011-09-05 13:38

    In my view this article is nothing more than a bunch of poor excuses and thumb sucked rationalisations!

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 16:35

      Moan harder so that it makes your emigration seem less of knee jerk reaction.

      Kevin King - 2011-09-06 00:41

      @ Adolph: 1. Please state that you are an Afrikaner 2. Comment on this:

  • Dunisani - 2011-09-05 13:47

    Nice article Chandré,

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 16:35

      Hoor hoor, Dunisani. Ek stem saam.

  • DeonOlivier - 2011-09-05 14:42

    Me Thinks Chandre should get her head out of her arse

  • Kevin King - 2011-09-05 14:55

    When this type of article comes out, there are two types of commentators, those that agree and those that do not. 99% of the time the former is black and the latter is white. Read above, I'm not making this up. This means one of two things: Either whites are stupid and blacks are clever, or whites are racist because they moan about crime in our country where over 80% of the victims.... wait for it... are BLACK! Someone shed some light on this please?

      Colin - 2011-09-05 15:32

      Maybe blacks are stupid and racist opposed to whites if we all had to descend to your level of reasoning. Maybe the fact that so many policemen are black and corrupt is a major reason for all the crime. And maybe its just you that are stupid since blacks suffer from crime even more than whites

      Irene - 2011-09-05 15:33

      WTF are you talking about - there is no mention of race in this article, to me 1 person (black or white) being raped or murdered is too much!!! Sit down and shut up!!

      falcon2020 - 2011-09-05 16:04

      @ Irene - if you look at criminals you can only be color blind to think they are all dark, what wrong with you?

      Derrick - 2011-09-05 16:06

      U seem pretty stupid...

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-05 22:35

      Luister ek's wit, maar dit vat nie n' Einstein om te weet dat moaning en whining die nuwe sport is vir blankes in Suid Afrika is nie. Hoekom whine en moan ons? Nou dit is die vraag....

      Colin - 2011-09-05 22:57

      adolph ek stem saam kom ons strike eerder en gooi klip, necklace mense en blameer apartheid dan kan ons mos se ons is deel van die nuwe sa

      Kevin King - 2011-09-06 00:42

      @ Adolph: 1. Please state that you are an Afrikaner 2. Comment on this:

      Plaasjapie - 2011-09-06 09:04

      "The one category of crime that has increased since 2003/4 is commercial crime, also known as white-collar crime." Dom Boer!

      Colin - 2011-09-06 22:34

      plaasjapie I won't use big words so you can also understand. The reason white collar crime has increased is because aa targets are being met and because its safer to chase down a corrupt official than an armed robber, if we had the full stats I believe violent crime would show the biggest increase over the last year

  • TaSaqz - 2011-09-05 15:08

    Thanks for the article. We can do with some good news.

  • wisegirl - 2011-09-05 15:11

    Another white wash job by some ANC paid (or influenced) "journalist"

      Adolph Visagie - 2011-09-06 00:33

      Funny that you should say white wash, when in fact it's just another thing for pale South Africans to bitch and moan about. Oh no the crime stats must be cooked, because otherwise how else can I bitch and moan about South Africa? Pathetic...

  • Colin - 2011-09-05 15:29

    I don't agree, I have been a witness to crimes 6 times and only once did the police open a case, even for attempted murder its just too much trouble. If all the crimes were reported it would be at least 5 times higher

      falcon2020 - 2011-09-05 16:06

      Exactly, ppl are fedup wasting their time with the SAPS, therefor we are having or may have incidents of street justice increasing...

      pjanprinsloo - 2011-09-05 18:19

      Exactly. The data we receive from the police is also skewed.

  • Jannie - 2011-09-05 17:08

    I agree. I only buried two murdered friends since 2006, that's not too bad. I'm probably misinformed. Cancelling my ADT contract tomorrow and taking down the stupid electrical fence.

  • youcantrunyoucanthide - 2011-09-05 17:32

    "South Africa is the only country in Africa that provides annual up-to-date statistics, so we don’t have an accurate comparison with the rest of the continent. We actually only compare our crime rate to less than half of the countries in the world, most of them developed western nations with greater prosperity and a more established data collection systems." With the lack of proper data from other third-world countries, the author of this article could not with 100% certainty claim that we do not have the highest crime and murder rate in the world. Thus, the author is actually lying when stating that "South Africa has the highest crime or murder rate in the world" is a myth - since according to all the available data - we actually are. Tsk tsk... very sloppy argumentation.

      pjanprinsloo - 2011-09-05 18:16


  • pjanprinsloo - 2011-09-05 18:14

    I disagree. I believe REPORTED crime may be lower. Conduct your own research, based on data you get from friends and family members, and compare the number of incidents in the last year vs the year before that and so on and see if you reach a similar conclusion. In my case there has been an increase in crime that has affected me and my family and friends. I do agree that reporting on crime is often skewed, but I believe it can be, and is, skewed both ways. One thing is certain though is that vehicle accidents account for considerably more deaths than murders.

      pjanprinsloo - 2011-09-05 18:28

      Regarding the vehicle accidents: It is worth nothing that SA has a ridiculously high road accident death rate. So to argue that the murder rate isn't that bad, relative to a high road death toll, is just adding insult to injury (That is, just because bad thing (A) isn't as bad as bad thing (B) you cant state that bad thing (A), or any other bad thing for that matter, is actually OK or tolerable).

  • sipholess - 2011-09-05 18:31

    All the spin (this article) in the world can't hide what really goes on in SA. One would have to have lived in SA to know how desperate the situation is. The last time I was in SA on holiday my family and 19 other family's were robbed at gunpoint by six natives (wallets,phones,jewellery,shoes,car keys) while having dinner at a seafood restaurant in KZN.One person was shot and numerous were assaulted. Personal safety is something you leave at the airport when visiting South Africa.

  • Hugh - 2011-09-05 18:34

    Oh S**T another half full read using dark glasses of the blind senario. To what end do you want to compare SA to AFRICAN crime. Who in hell wants to move to another african country when we lwish to leave this one not only becuse of crime but a bucket full of other stuff. Anyone willing to make donations because crime destroyed my life. lastly crime is the activity of the lazy who knowingly earn quick money and refuse to use their talents constructively. It has little to do with poverty.

  • chantal de pierres - 2011-09-05 18:46

    I was recently in Bangkok and though you do have poorer and richer areas, you often see a tiny house next door to a huge mansion. The people though are still neighbours and have the same interest in keeping their street clean or their area safe.

      KanaMay - 2011-09-06 22:28

      My Mom is Asian, and I agree that there's something about Buddhists which seem to radiate calmness. Some of them can be nosy gossips too, so maybe Asians think `Somebody might be peeking at my criminal activity'! I've always wondered at the movie / TV scene where the Mafia members are attending Church. Do they think that once they confess at the Church and repent to God for a while, their crimes / sins are washed away?

  • Koen - 2011-09-05 19:07

    Oh, so we have nothing to worry about. Excellent news

  • SeanK - 2011-09-05 21:03

    And these morons probably believe in the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas too

  • Joan - 2011-09-06 00:20

    Reminds me of the minister in Kuruman who berated his church council because the town had the second highest alcohol consumption in the country. Their response: Don't worry, Dominee, next year we will be first.

  • Joan - 2011-09-06 00:29

    Man kills, rapes aunt for R1 500 2011-09-05 09:55 Related LinksWoman hacked to death by brother Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal family has been devastated by the gruesome rape and murder of a woman by her own nephew. The Sunday Tribune reported that Waleed Karriem killed his aunt, Freda Travira, for R1 500 to pay his cellphone debt. Karriem pleaded guilty and received two life sentences for murdering his aunt while out on bail on a rape case. He told a court in horrific detail how he attacked her, sodomised and raped her.

  • werner.smidt - 2011-09-06 07:45

    "Poverty causes crime High levels of inequality, such as those in South Africa, are more closely related to murder than poverty. " Poverty does cause crime . . . about as much as it causes babies.

      Colin - 2011-09-06 22:36

      600 000 poor whites and I haven't heard about them robbing and raping, maybe its a cultural thing

  • Chad - 2011-09-06 16:12

    I'm not happy that we are trying to justify crime, However I am happy that articles like these are open for the public to read and comment on. My biggest concern would be corruption within the SAPS, especially the small scale corruption which is highly visible by the public. In my opinion, once this is sorted out South Africans will only strive to make this country better and safer.

      dogue - 2011-09-08 14:07

      Absolutely. All crimes will drop once corription in the cops drops.

  • Pepelee - 2011-09-08 08:47

    The writer of this article is just dumb... He must be part of the ruling Party...

  • Malleus - 2011-09-08 12:33

    It is not the statistics that we should be disputing. We should be looking at the level of violence that goes with the crime. I have seen things that traumatise me, simply by looking at them, and half the poppulation accept this as normal. Sick society we are in cannot be blamed on anything but ourselves. No amount of apartheid can justify the disemboweling, dismemberment, deliberate torture and savagery in some of the crimes that occur in this country. Numbers mean nothing.

  • dogue - 2011-09-08 13:44

    “Poor townships and informal settlements are dangerous.” This is a myth?! “[P]oorer areas generally have lower rates of reported property and violent crime than more affluent areas”. Obviously, in poor areas there is less to steal or break into. Also, your neighbours know you. How does this mean they’re not dangerous? Go there walking around freely, visit a few taverns and see what will happen to you. Don’t do it only once, do it regularly. Don’t forget to dress nice, especially if you’re a woman. Crime stats in SA can’t be trusted, so anyone can guess what they want. O’Donovan must have been paid for by the government. My guess is that crime is increasing. It’s a guess because we don’t have reliable stats. Just about every point in this article is flawed. Violent crime is extremely high, maybe it’s levelling, as they say, but is that a good thing? I can’t walk around freely, kids can’t walk to school and I still have to live in fear of violent criminals.

  • Shazzy123 - 2011-09-08 15:19

    On the issue of Woman and crime - what about the rape stats for 2011 according to a woman / girl is raped every 17 seconds in South Africa. Also a female in SA is more likely to be raped than learn to read.

  • dogue - 2011-09-08 15:58

    "[They] looked at reasons why some of these crime myths and misperceptions are so hard to change." Maybe because they're not myths at all? The theory that "while inequality within an area does not contribute to crime levels, inequality between areas does do so significantly" is what one can safely call a nonsense theory. What came first, the chicken or the egg? In countries with low crime, rich and poor can live together which suits both of them because they both need each other, because they respect each other and if a plebe gets caught stealing, the other plebes will honourably report that indeed, he's a thief and probably lynch him for giving them a bad name! Not here in SA! Do criminals become criminals because they are segregated or are they segregated because they are criminals? A good case to look at is what happened after the end of the Group Areas Act. More nonsense theories: “We don’t have an accurate comparison with the rest of the continent”. Then just go to a neighbouring country, any one of them, yes even Zim and see the difference. In Namibia and Botswana you can sleep in the side of the road in the car and if someone comes to your window, it’s most likely to help you. Try that in ZA! Maybe Nigeria will beat us in violent crime and that’s only a maybe! “High levels of inequality, such as those in South Africa, are more closely related to murder than poverty. “ Blaming murder on inequality. What about India? Is there no inequality there? Or China?

  • Theodor - 2011-09-08 16:52

    People assume that poverty goes hand-in-hand with crime, but that’s not necessarily the case, as shown by studies done worlwide. While many poor people turn to crime, the two aren’t hopelessly linked. Rather, it’s the setbacks and disadvantages, more than poverty itself, that affect crime rates, experts say. The studies have found a weak connection between poverty and crime. If poverty automatically led to crime, then crime rates would rise when poverty rates rise, and the world’s poorest nations would also be the world’s most crime-ridden. Neither is the case. It's a myth that poor people are more likely to do serious crime and affects societies view of poor people. This myth could make people overlook criminals from the middle- and upper-classes. While people in poverty might commit petty crimes of desperation, white-collar criminals often commit crimes of opportunity. South Africa is mostly affected by crimes of opportunity like violent invasions, murder and sexual crime.None of which are affected by desperation. Many studies found that factors could affect a community’s crime rate more than simple income levels. Those factors include: -- Housing values and conditions. -- Education levels. -- Chronic unemployment. All three rampant in South Africa, all three under direct control of government. Does this tell you anything?

  • marvo - 2011-09-09 05:19

    South Africa is a long way from being world murder capital, I'm surprised Chandre didn't mention that pack of Central/South American countries which have more murders recorded even wirth disappearances and more corrupt conditions.

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