Home is where the robbery is – over half of all SA crime is housebreaking

South Africans are more likely to be victims of crime in their own homes than elsewhere.

Disaggregated data from Statistics South Africa shows that over 50% of all crime experienced by households in the country over 2015/16 was housebreaking.

Statistician-general Pali Lehohla told reporters “50% of all crime activities happen in a place you call home”.

At a media briefing in Pretoria‚ Lehohla released a report titled “Exploring the extent of and circumstances surrounding housebreaking/burglary and home robbery”. Overall‚ just half the criminal activities in the country were reported to police. A total of 358‚191 incidents were reported‚ while 727‚130 occurred.

Lehohla said crime in South Africa was actually declining‚ but the public perception was that it was shooting up.

Said Statistics South Africa’s report: “One possible reason for the non-alignment between perception and experience of crime could be the media coverage of crime.

“An increasing number of households have access to news about crimes that took place in other parts of the country and in other countries.

“Another reason may be that even though the overall crime rate is decreasing‚ some specific crime types may be increasing‚ and households may be paying more attention to those crimes than the overall rates.”

Lehohla said South Africans yearned for a safe country. This could be realised by 2059‚ if proper interventions were made.

“Crime causes anxiety and anxiety hypertension‚ and hypertension causes‚ amongst other things‚ heart diseases. You don’t want to be anxious‚ you want to be safe‚” said Lehohla.

In terms of convictions, the report revealed the following:

  • Out of all housebreaking/burglaries reported to police‚ an arrest was made in only 19% of cases – meaning that the SAPS failed to make any arrest in 81% of cases reported; and
  • The conviction rate for housebreakings/burglaries was only 14.3%. “This means that out of all house-breaking or burglaries reported‚ just 3% resulted in a conviction.”

Zakhele Mbhele‚ a Democratic Alliance member of parliament said that the data is a shocking indictment on both the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Justice system‚ and is a clear indication of a failure to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are first arrested and then convicted for their crimes.

“The SAPS are responsible for making South Africa safer‚ yet if arrests are made in only 19% of all cases‚ there is a serious problem which must be addressed urgently if South Africans are to ever feel safe in their homes‚” Mbhele said in a statement.

“Parliament deserves answers on what the Department of Police is doing to improve the SAPS performance on house-breakings. South Africans deserve to feel safe yet the SAPS is blatantly failing at their mandate.”

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