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Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) recently released the 2016/17 Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) results. The VOCS is an annual household-based survey that aims to provide information about the dynamics of crime.
Stats SA conducted the research for the VOCS from
April 2016 to March 2017.
The survey found that crime experienced by households and individuals aged 16 years and older had decreased slightly.
Approximately seven percent of households in South Africa were victims of crime in 2016/17, compared to about nine percent of households in 2015/16. An estimated
1 468 278 crime incidents were experienced by 1 153
984 households in 2016/17.
The estimated number of incidents of crime decreased for many types of crime. Housebreaking incidents decreased by eight percent; home robbery decreased by 25 percent and theft of personal property decreased by 12 percent.
Incidents of hijacking of motor vehicles and sexual offences increased by 93 percent and 110 percent respectively.
Estimates for hijacking and sexual offences, however, should be used cautiously as they fall under the second level of quality (acceptable statistics) due to the small number of respondents that experienced these types of crime.
About 1.2 million households experienced about 1.5 million crime incidents in 2016/17. Male-headed households had a higher percentage (7.5 percent) of victimisation compared to female-headed households
Households headed by coloured people (8.9 percent) were the most likely to be victimised, and households headed by black Africans (6.9 percent) were the least likely to be victimised.
The survey reports that housebreaking/burglary
(53 percent) was the most common crime households experienced in 2016/17, followed by theft of livestock
(11 percent) and home robbery (10 percent).
Theft of personal property heads the individual crime list at 42 percent, followed by assault (18 percent) and robbery (16 percent).
Stats SA estimated that 776 933 housebreaking incidents were committed in 2016/17, which affected
647 340 households (four percent of all households in South Africa).
Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape had the highest proportion of households victimised through housebreaking
(6.9 percent). Electronic equipment was the most common (54 percent) type of item stolen during housebreaking.
In 2016/17 just over 84 percent of households felt safe walking in their neighbourhoods during the day while 30 percent felt safe walking at night.
Many households had actively taken measures to make their homes (51 percent) and vehicles (41 percent) more secure, nevertheless the fear of crime persisted and prevented them from engaging in daily activities such as going to open spaces (32 percent), allowing children to play outside (20 percent) and walking to town