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Top 10 Most Feared Crimes in South Africa

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The crime rate is very high and it is among the top two concerns in South Africa, second only to unemployment. According to a survey by the Human Sciences Research Council between 2003 and 2015, 79% of the people surveyed were dissatisfied with the government efforts to reduce crime.

Although the crime rate is declining according to the crime statistics released by the South African Police service in 2018, murder is still on the increase. Available data suggest that murder rates in 2018 increased for the sixth consecutive year. The most recent rise includes a 14% increase in the murder of women and children.

Despite this decrease in the crime rates in South Africa according to reports by the South African Police service, data on victim and perception might tell a different story. According to Quartz.com police data alone offer only a partial picture. It also tells us almost nothing about public experiences and perceptions, including how many crimes aren’t reported, whether people trust the police, or if they feel safe.

In fact, victims of Crime Survey results released in 2018, indicate that aggregate crime levels in the period 2017/18 increased as compared to 2016/17. Also, perceptions of South Africans were more sceptical compared to the previous year (2017/18); however, it was better than they were in 2003 and 2007.

Given the high crime rates in South Africa and the increase in the murder rate in South Africa, one would expect that the most feared crime in South Africa is murder.

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However, a survey pertaining to the crimes South Africans are most afraid of falling victims to in the country which was published in 2018 by Stats SA revealed that the crimes people are most afraid of falling victims to are Housebreaking. In this article, we explore the most feared crimes in South Africa. Below are the top ten most feared crimes according to Stats SA.

most feared crimes in south africa

1. Housebreaking or Burglary

Although the SAPS data reveals the fact that this crime is the third most common crime in South Africa, Housebreaking or burglary is perceived as the most common crime in South Africa. Data from SAPS suggest that there are 228,094 cases of burglary.

While 70% per cent of the people surveyed considers burglary as the most common crime. Similarly, 60.8 per cent of individuals surveyed are afraid of this crime.

2. Home Robbery

Second to housebreaking is home robbery, 47.2 % of the people surveyed were afraid of home robbery and South Africans believe that it is the third most common crime according to the Survey. The data released by SAPS shows that there are 22,261 cases of home robberies, and is ranked as the 17th most common crime compared to people’s perception which ranks the crime as the 3rd most common crime.

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3. Robbery outside the home

This crime is the third on our list of the most crimes given people’s fear of the crime. It is ranked as the second most common crime according to people’s perceptions, as 46.3% of the people surveyed were afraid of the robbery outside the home.

When this figure (crimes which people perceive as the most common crime) is compared to the figure released by the SAPS, robbery outside the home is ranked as the 19th most common crime.

4. Murder

Murder is perceived by South Africans as the 7th most common crime, according to 19.9% of the people surveyed. When this figure is compared to SAPS data, it was ranked as the 18th most common crime. The Survey revealed the fact that 40.5% of the people surveyed are afraid of murder.

5. Sexual Assault

The fifth on our list of the most feared crime in South Africa is sexual assault. It was revealed according to the survey that 28.3% of the people interviewed are afraid of sexual assault. This crime was perceived by South Africans as the 5th most common crime in South Africa.

6. Pick-pocketing or bag-snatching

4% of the people surveyed revealed that they are afraid of this particular crime making it the sixth most feared crime in South Africa. When it comes to people’s perception of the most common crimes in South Africa, it is ranked as the fourth most common crime in South Africa.

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7. Assault

Data released by the SAPS reveals the fact that Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily common assault is the 4th and 5th most common crime. Although the survey shows that assault is the fifth most common crime according to people’s perception, it is the seventh most feared crime in South Africa according to people’s perception. This figure stood 23.3% of the people surveyed.

8. Drug Trafficking

The survey shows that drug trafficking is the third 8th feared crime in South Africa. The survey reveals the fact that 16.9% of the people surveyed were afraid of this crime, while 19.1% of the people surveyed perceived this crime as the most common crime making it 8th most common crime.

9. Car theft or any type of vehicle

Ranked as the 11th most feared crimes with 12.2% of the people surveyed perceiving this crime as the most common crime, 16.2% of the people surveyed revealed that they are afraid of this crime making it the 9th most feared crime in South Africa.

10. Business Robbery

Business robbery is the last on our list with 15.8% of the people surveyed revealing that they are afraid of this crime and it is the 6th most common crime. 20.6% of the people surveyed perceived business robbery as the most common crime.

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