The number 1 crime in South Africa
The number one crime in South Africa remains burglary or housebreaking, with 2.3 million households experiencing the crime in 2019/2020, with the peak periods of incidents being in June, September and December 2019/2020.
According to StatsSA, more South African households representing 5.3 % of all homes in the country were burgled in the five year period preceding the Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPS). The previous five year survey period ending 2015/2016 recorded 2.1 million housebreakings.
Housebreaking accounts for 50 % of all crimes experienced by households. In crimes against homeowners, burglary/housebreaking, which occurs when no one is at home, is the most common.
While the second most common crime amounting to 11.9 % of the South African crime pie, a home robbery occurs when the family is at home and is an extremely dangerous and violent crime – as it is deliberate and often an armed violation of a household’s personal space.
The 2019 /2020 Governance, Public Safety and Justice Survey (GPSJS) report:
- An estimated 169 000 incidents of home robberies affecting 139 000 households in 2019/2020
- The number of homes impacted by home robbery/invasion amounts to 0.8 % of all households in the country
- Home robbery declined in 2019 /2020 at 415 000 incidents compared to 506 000 in the previous 2015 /2016 survey.
The survey on housebreaking/burglary and home robbery indicate:
- Nighttime is still the preferred time for crimes against households.
- More home robberies are reported to the police because of their violent nature, sometimes leading to rape and murder.
- Communities fear home robbery, which causes emotional trauma and risk of personal injury to the affected household and the community as a whole who feel they may be the following targets.
- Home robbery is so disturbing and disruptive that it leads to residents feeling unsafe in their own homes and neighbourhoods where they should feel safest of all.
- Electrical equipment was a firm favourite in both housebreakings and home robberies, with jewellery, money, and cell phones being second on the list of preferred items to grab.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) crime stats say that arrests are made for only one out of five reported cases of housebreaking or home robbery, with convictions of one in five people for housebreaking and one in three convictions of those arrested for home robbery,
Since 2019, SA issues crimes stats on a quarterly basis. During the first COVID-19 hard lockdown of the first quarter of April to June 2020, burglaries at residential premises were 37 128, and home robberies were 4 006. This was a sharp drop from the first quarter of 2019.
This year it is back to business for burglars as the first quarter stats indicate – April to June 2021, there were 39 477 burglaries at residences, an increase of 6.3 %. And for home robberies, 5346 households came under attack, and that amounts to a 33.4 % increase.
Citizens under attack
In 2021 South Africans remained a people under attack from criminality. SAPS crime stats indicate that in the first quarter of April to June 2021, there was a 60.6 % increase versus the same period in 2020 when the country was in hard lockdown.
These are some of the shocks April 1 to June 30, 2021 crime statistics:
- There was a 66.2 % increase in murder with 5 760 people killed, usually in open fields, parking areas and abandoned buildings – 2 531 murders occurred in the latter. Some 1385 people were killed at their homes and 206 people at liquor outlets. Reasons for the murders are arguments, robberies, mob justice and gang-related killings.
- There was a 72.4 % increase in incidents of rape, amounting to 10 006 victims.
- Over 15 000 cases of domestic violence cases were reported. These fell in the categories common assault and assault with grievous bodily harm, which has a combined incident count of 76 936.
And so, the levels rise and fall across all categories of crime.
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