Crime-free SA may be­come a re­al­ity… in 2059

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE ND­LAZI

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.

PIC­TURE: JAC­QUES NAUDÉ

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.

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