Crime Statistics: What to expect from the latest crime statistics in South Africa by eNCA
The annual SAPS statistics cover crimes reported to the police and reflect historical trends, rather than being an indication of up-to-the-minute crime patterns.
Resources like Stats SA’s National Victims of Crime Survey are used to obtain more details on unreported crimes.
Last year, it was announced that SAPS crime statistics would be announced every quarter, but the last report was publicised in March 2017.
The Victims of Crime Survey indicated that, although crime levels had generally decreased, households reported deteriorating feelings of safety and less confidence in the police and court systems.
Stats SA stated some reasons for not reporting crimes included public dissatisfaction with the justice system, lack of police presence in communities and low conviction rates for housebreaking and home robbery. According to Stats SA data, an arrest is made in only one of every five such reported cases.
Households that held negative attitudes about the police felt that law enforcement officials could not recover stolen goods (59 percent), whereas those that were disgruntled with court services said that there was too much leniency towards criminals.
According to the survey, the percentage of households that had experienced at least one incident of crime decreased from nine percent in 2015/16 to seven percent in 2016/17, while feelings of safety when walking alone in a neighbourhood at night decreased from 31 percent to 29 percent in the same period.
A comparison of crime types showed that housebreaking/burglary (53 percent) was the most common crime experienced by households in 2016/17. This was followed by theft of livestock (11 percent) and home robbery (10 percent).
Housebreaking is also the most feared crime in South African households.