Crime-free SA may become a reality… in 2059
SOUTH Africa will only be able to enjoy a crime-free society by 2059.
Basing his assertions on previous trends and future predictions, statistician-general Pali Lehohla yesterday said this was despite decreasing crime levels in the past two years.
“The SAPS crime statistics show that total crime as a percentage of the population (per capita crime) has been steadily decreasing since 2005. However, the rate is too slow. At this rate, the goal of eliminating crime will be achieved in 2059 instead of in 2030, as envisaged by the National Development Plan,” said Lehohla.
He was speaking at the launch of the latest crime statistics on the extent and circumstances surrounding housebreaking, burglary and home robbery.
The report, entitled “Exploring the extent of and circumstances surrounding housebreaking/burglary and home robbery”, is part of a series of reports produced by Statistics South Africa.
It is an in-depth analysis of the Victims of Crime Survey data collected in 2015/16 in conjunction with SAPS data.
Lehohla said half of all crimes were committed in people’s homes.
“Housebreaking/burglary accounts for over 50% of all crimes experienced by households, followed by home robbery, which was experienced by 12%,” Lehohla said.
He said there had been a growing perception that crime was on the increase, despite a recorded decrease over the last five years.
“An increasing proportion of households do not feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhoods during the day and at night than they were five years ago. These perceptions may have emanated from the fact that home robbery reporting has been increasing,” he said.
An estimated 670 000 households in South Africa experienced housebreaking/burglary while about 160 000 households experienced home robberies in 2015/16.
He said there was a declining trend in the proportion of households that experienced crime in the past year for both male-headed and female-headed households. “The male-headed households are more at risk that female-headed households. The odds are one in three times than when the household head is female,” he said.
Lehohla added that educated males were more at risk. “The odds of experiencing home robbery were more than five times compared to households where the head had no education. This may be due to economic wellbeing associated with the high level of education,” he said.
Although the prevalence of housebreaking/burglary and home robbery declined during the last five years, the proportion of households that thought crime was increasing had been growing.
While reporting of home robbery has been increasing, this was not the case with reporting of housebreaking. In 2015/16, just over half of housebreaking/burglary (53%) incidents and 66% of home robbery incidents were reported to the police.
Lehohla said under-reporting remained a serious challenge. The survey estimated that in 2015/16, under-reporting for housebreaking was 47% and 37% for robbery.
“According to the survey, most residents did not report crime because they believed the police could not or would not do anything,” he said.
The results also show that the odds of a white-headed household reporting housebreaking to the police were significantly higher than those of a black/African-headed household.
In about 19% of the incidents of housebreakings/ burglaries and home robberies reported to the police, an arrest was made. The conviction rate among suspects of housebreaking/burglary was 14.3% and 22% among those accused of home robbery.
Since 2005, crime has been steadily decreasing
POLICE Minister Fikile Mbalula says his office regards rape, femicide and other forms of gender-based violence as a fundamental threat to national security.
“I have instructed my office to deal with it in that manner – as a priority crime,” Mbalula said during a debate on violence against women in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday.
“I have tasked my office to evaluate the viability of having femicide and domestic violence classified as a special category.
“An assault against women must carry a heavier sentence than a sentence for common assault,” he said.
Mbalula sent a strong message to the police on how to deal with women who were victim of crimes.
“No woman must be told to fix things at home,” he said. “No woman must be turned away without proper investigation. And statements should be taken in a private room.”
He also said female victims of crime must receive legal, medical, social and psychological support.
The police and court processes should be made as tolerable as possible, and police training and visibility would be key elements in the strategy to effect change.
“All of this is currently taking place at heightened pace. Our communities are rightly criticising police for their reluctance to interfere in domestic disputes and, in particular, their reluctance to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence.”
He said no domestic violence case, including those against children, would be treated lightly.
“I assure women and children that we will do everything to protect and keep you safe from criminals,” Mbalula said.
He issued a warning to men who abused their partners: “Women and girls are not the property of males. Full stop!
“If you beat your girlfriend, wife or partner, you are a tsotsi! We are coming for you, tsotsi! You coward!” he said to applause from MPs.
NCOP chairperson Thandi Modise called on men to rise up against the brutality meted out to women and children.
“We must make a distinction between real men and those in the bodies of men who prey on us, their children, nieces, sisters and grandmothers,” Modise said.
She said the rights of women and children were human rights – and were everyone’s business. Modise called on mothers not to force girls into marriage because their fathers wanted lobolo.
CRIMINALS BEWARE: A total of 88 Ford Rangers and 35 state-of-the-art cameras were handed over to the SAPS at the Tshwane police academy yesterday, at the same time as the statistician-general announced the latest crime statistics.