Burglaries ‘driven by need for drugs’

Eastern Cape residents believe that violent and property-related crimes like burglary are fuelled by people looking for drug money.

This was revealed in the latest Victims of Crime Survey, released on Tuesday.

Statistician-general Dr Pali Lehohla released the survey, which provides information on crime trends and household perceptions about safety and law enforcement.

The survey was carried out between April 2015 and February last year.

The nationwide household survey asks questions in face-to-face interviews with residents to ascertain their perceptions and experiences relating to crime.

Nationally, the most-feared crimes were found to be burglary and house robberies.

“This is worrying as it shows people do not feel safe,” he said.

Lehohla said the latest data showed that residents in North West, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape were the least likely to report incidents of burglary and house robbery, while residents in the Western Cape and Free State were the most likely to report such incidents.

Of the 1 681 Eastern Cape households interviewed, almost half said they no longer visited open spaces or parks in fear of being attacked.

Of these households, 90% claimed that they believed crime was fuelled by drugs.

Participants were able to choose more than one reason for what they believed was behind crime.

Of those surveyed in the Eastern Cape, 34% felt crime was also committed due to necessity, while 48% said greed played a role.

In the Eastern Cape, 1 066 participants felt that prisons were a “college for crooks”.

But 1 043 people believed that prison rehabilitated criminals.

With regard to human trafficking, most Eastern Cape residents felt that victims had been abducted, while others felt that victims were being lured by the culprits offering job opportunities.

Nationally, participants said that guns and knives were the criminals’ weapon of choice, with guns mainly used in hijackings and house robberies, while knives were used in general robberies and assaults.

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