With the release of the 2021/2022 Quarterly Crime Statistics recently, the numbers make for very unsettling reading, and these stats don’t even take into account the recent riots and looting triggered by the arrest of former State President, Jacob Zuma, where no official numbers have been released yet. In this article we will be taking a look at what some of the crime stats are, why they are so high, and some measures you can take to make yourself just a little bit safer.
The lockdown period of 2020 makes it very difficult to compare crime statistics to the previous year, as restrictions on movement and curfews had a marked impact on crime. So for all statistics we will also be looking at the 2019 statistics to get a more balanced view.
According to the latest quarterly statistics released by SAPS contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder, sexual offences and all categories of assault have increased by 60,6% compared to the same period of the previous financial year, with murder showing a staggering 66.2% increase. However, when 2019 statistics are taken into account this is an increase of 6.7%.
Rape is another area of grave concern showing an increase of 2.8% when compared to pre-lockdown statistics. This amounts to 10 006 rapes between April and June 2021. While overall sexual offences showed a 5% increase.
One area that has improved (almost certainly due to the lockdown restrictions) is that burglary of non-residential properties is down by a whopping 22.4%, but on the flip side there were 1340 more robberies than the same period the previous year, an increase of 33.4%. Burglary at residential property is South Africa’s most committed crime 39 477 occurences in the second quarter of 2021.
Common Assault is the second most perpetrated crime with 39 406 instances reported between April and June.
These statistics make for sobering reading and while the reaction to them may be fear or anger, it is important to try and understand the root causes.
Infograph: Causes of Crime in South Africa
Causes of the high crime rate in South Africa
There is no one single cause of the high crime rate, the reasons are wide ranging and many are symptomatic of South Africa’s position as one of the most unequal societies on earth. And while many of these issues are deep seated into the fabric of our society, the marked increases have been fuelled by the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. In the section below we take a deeper look at some of these causes.
Job losses due to economic crisis
Lockdown has placed huge strain on South African businesses with many closing down and others forced to scale back operations. This has had a knock on effect on jobs with many previously employed South Africans now facing unemployment with little prospect of finding a job in the future. This desperation has contributed to increasing crime rates.
Increases in food and petrol prices
Even for employed individuals the increase of food and petrol prices has led to a heavier burden on most people’s shoulders. Petrol price hikes impact on almost every aspect of daily life and lead to increased costs of food, goods and services.
Inadequate job opportunities
According to statistics from Stats SA the official unemployment rate 32.6%, but experts indicate the actual rate is closer to 38.2%. This means South Africa has the fourth highest unemployment rate of 182 countries tracked by trading economics. This joblessness has a natural impact on crime rates with more desperate people turning to crime as a means of survival.
A corrupt and understaffed policing force
The South African Police Force was under strain even during pre-covid years, but the pandemic has further hindered the efficacy of the force. 38 000 SAPS members were infected with Covid-19 and scores of police stations were forced to close. Furthermore, no new SAPS members were able to be trained in 2020/2021, and the effects of this gap will likely only be truly felt in the coming months.
The number one crime in South Africa
When we take all these stats and issues into account the outlook for South Africa doesn’t look bright from a crime perspective, and is one reason why many South Africans have already chosen to move to security estates to help feel safer. But that doesn’t mean you are helpless to protect yourself and your family from it. The section below focuses on the most common form of crime, burglary at residential property, and what measures you can take to not fall victim to the number one crime in South Africa.
How can we deter possible home invasions
There are a number of measures you can take to help reduce your chances of falling victim to a burglary at home. While no one method ensures complete safety, by taking a variety of precautions you can add layers of security to your home, which may make the difference between becoming a victim or not. Below we explore some of these measures and how they apply to South Africans regardless of where they live.
Added locks on windows and doors
Windows and doors are two of the most important security areas in any home. While there are a number of measures you can take to improve window and door security, we want to focus on one versatile solution that can be employed in any home. The installation of lockable window or door latches, such as LockLatch, offers supplementary protection to your existing window and door locks. These versatile security devices feature a patented design, which makes them suitable for any type of window or door, and can be easily installed in minutes with basic DIY knowledge. Each LockLatch features a C304 stainless steel construction with an adjustable arm, which lets you control the size of the window or door opening.
An alternative to a lockable window or door latch is the installation of burglar bars. While burglar bars are a very common feature of South African homes, they are not without their drawbacks. These include aesthetic issues as well as the cost of installation and the bars themselves. However, despite these problems they are definitely an effective crime deterrent.
Electric fences are a great way to secure the perimeter of your property. Not only are they a visual deterrent, but they stop thieves before they are able to enter the property itself. Electric fencing is even more effective when connected to a home security system.
Install a security system
Speaking of security systems, these have become more accessible and affordable in recent years. The advances in technology mean these systems are more compact and easy to install than ever, and with smart home technology can connect directly to your mobile phone to ensure you can personally keep an eye on your property even when you are away.
Adopt a dog for added security
Not every security solution needs to be high tech, and often the most tried and tested security options are still great ways to keep your home safe. Dogs are a good example of this as many burglars will automatically avoid properties with dogs due to the increased chance of alerting owners or neighbours to their activities.
Seek pet door alternatives
If you do decide to get a dog then you will need to consider how they access your home. PetLatch from LockLatch provides an elegant solution to this problem. The PetLatch features the same design as LockLatch (and the same lifetime guarantee) but allows for the opening to be adjusted between 16 and 24cm making it perfect for providing access to small and medium sized dogs. The device means your door can be left open, but still securely locked in place. The adjustable nature of the PetLatch means that the opening can be tailored to the size of your dog, and can also be adjusted as they grow. Because PetLatch can be installed on any type of door in minutes, it also means you can install it on your pet’s preferred entrypoint, which means they won’t have to be trained to use a doggie door.
Always check all doors and windows before leaving the house
Before we end off we would like to circle back to the importance of door and window security. Many thieves gain access to properties through unlocked doors and windows, so it is imperative that you check that your doors and windows are locked whenever you leave the house. Or get a LockLatch so you don’t have to worry about this.
Keep your home and family safe with added security
While the crime statistics make for depressing reading, they really hammer home just how important it is to ensure that you take every measure to protect your home and your family. Why not start the process today with a LockLatch or PetLatch device.