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WATCH: The most feared crimes in SA and why it's preventing our children from playing outside
Stats SA recently released their Victims of Crime Survey for the 2017/18 period. Not only did it reveal that household crime has gone up 5% from the previous year, South Africans also admitted it has prevented them from carrying out activities, which includes letting their children play outside. Here are the findings.
Aggregate crime levels have increased over the past year, while over 1.5 million incidences of household crime occurred. (iStock)
“In 2030, people living in South Africa feel safe at home, at school and at work, and they enjoy a community life free of fear, women walk freely in the streets and children play safely outside.”

These are the opening sentiments in Chapter 12 of the National Development Plan for 2030. 12 years from now, is that where we’ll be as nation? Will our perceptions of crime have changed so that we feel safe walking alone at night and allowing our children to play outside? I’m not so sure.

Stats SA recently released their Victims of Crime Survey for the 2017/18 period. The survey concluded that aggregate crime levels have increased from 2016/17, with more than 1.5 million incidences of household crime, constituting a 5% increase from the previous period.

Do you think crime has increased over the past year? Has it prevented you from engaging in daily activities? Do you feel safe letting your children play outside? Tell us by emailing

These occurrences shaped South African families’ perceptions of crime, which most people felt had increased (graph above), as well as the way they lived and things they felt comfortable doing.

Would you walk outside alone when it’s dark? Would you let your kids play outside during the day?

The most feared crimes in South Africa are listed above as housebreakings (68,8%), home robberies (47,2%) and robbery outside one's home (46,3%). Also mentioned is murder (40,5%), sexual assault (28,3%), pick-pocketing (23,4%) and drug trafficking (16,9%).

These crimes have also prevented households from carrying out seemingly mundane, maybe even the most basic and taken for granted, of things, like "going to open spaces" for the most part at 32,3%.

Significantly, and coming in second, many households also don't allow their "children to play" outside (17,1%) or allow them "to walk to school" (11,5%).

While it may only seem like an estimated 1 out of 5 households feel they can't let their children play outside, and even though the National Development plan offers a long-term perspective, since it was established in 2013 the rate of reduction of incidences of crime (as seen in graph one) has decreased and from the 2016/2017 to 2017/2018 period, incidences of crime have increased.

Similarly, people believe more violent crimes have occurred in their area than previous years and their faith in the police has dwindled.

Which crimes were committed?

The above chart shows that break-ins feature as the most common crime households experience at 54%, while home robberies make up 10% and theft of livestock and motor vehicles coming in at 10% and 8%, respectively. Looking at housebreaking / burglary specifically, the following graph, however, shows a big jump between the number of incidences that occurred vs. those that were actually reported to the police.

With almost four times more incidences of housebreaking and burglaries (832 122) than there are reports of said incidences to SAPs (228 094), we need to do further inspection into the efficiency and reliability of the police, or rather, families' perceptions of police services in South Africa.

Why didn’t you report it to the police?

In 2017/18, 32,5% of households said they saw police in their area at least once a day, while 23,1% said they never do. There isn’t a big jump between the two, in fact, it varies by less than 10%. This also saw a significant decline from previous years, so it makes sense then that households satisfaction with police services in their area also decreased, as seen below.

We therefore looked at the reasons households gave for why they didn't report incidences of housebreaking to the police.

At 52,8% most felt that there was no point in reporting a break-in because "police could do nothing", with others feeling it was inappropriate/unnecessary for police to intervene, or they could just resolve the matter themselves.

This indicates that people simply do not have faith in police and don't feel as though they are offering the protection they need in their areas.

This paints a bleaker picture for both us and our children, highlighting that we are moving further from feeling safe in our own homes, streets and communities. And it becomes all the more distressing if we feel we cannot rely on police to protect our families when we cannot protect them ourselves. 

Do you think crime has increased over the past year? Has it prevented you from engaging in daily activities? Do you feel safe letting your children play outside? Tell us by emailing

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