SA crime levels stabilise despite perceptions – report


While crime levels have stabilised, perceptions that crime is increasing persist, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Wednesday.

“The crime levels show that crime has stabilised, it is moving in a path where it has stabilised. The perceptions are that crime has indeed increased; 43% of people believe that crime has increased and 38% believe that it has gone down and about 12% feel that it is staying the same,” Statistician General Pali Lehohla said in a response to a question.

This, as Stats SA released the results of the Victims of Crime Survey for 2014/15 which states that the levels of crime in the country have stabilised but that South African perceptions of crime are increasing.

The report which looks at assault, sexual offense and murder within South African communities is based on a sample size of approximately 30 000 households and covers people 16 years and above.

According to the report, murder at (95.7%) was the most reported to the police followed by sexual offenses (63%) and 55.1% of assaults.

Presenting the results of the report, Statistician General Lehohla said 37% of people did not report sexual offenses because they felt it wasn’t serious enough. Other reasons given were that the police could do nothing and that it was inappropriate for police.

In addition, 45% of people did not report assault, while only 4.3% of murder cases were not reported.

Lehohla said that in most cases perpetrators of crime are people that are known to their respective communities.

Sexual offenses

When coming to sexual offenses – which refer to an unwanted sexual act or contact or communication with unwanted sexual attention – the data showed that four in ten sexual offenses that occurred in 2014/15 were at home (40%), while 25% happened outdoors.

The report further found that 39.6% of individuals who were single and never married were victims of sexual offenses at home, followed by in street and at an entertainment area. Those aged between 15 to 34 years were the main perpetrators of sexual offenses in the street, outdoors and in the workplace, while those aged 35 to 54 years were the main perpetrators at home.

The Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces experienced the highest number of sexual offenses in 2014/15.


When coming to murder in urban metros, guns were the most commonly used weapon to commit a murder followed by a knife, while in urban areas and rural settlements knives were the most commonly used weapons to commit murder.

In addition, households that were headed by women were more likely to experience murder when compared to male headed households.

When coming to motives behind murder cases, for those aged 15 to 34 years, jealousy was perceived to be the main reason why victims were murdered, while for the age group 25 to 54 years, money or other financial motive was perceived to be the main reason.


The report revealed that the most common place for the occurrence of assault was in the street, while the majority of young people were most likely to experience assault in the street, while the elder generation was most likely to experience assault at home.

In addition, anger was the main motive for assault that occurred at home, street and entertainment places. In the workplace, jealousy was the main motive for assault.
“By analysing crime and its perception in this way, it enables policy to start thinking how do we turn the streets, the homes and the entertainment places around into centres where people can live well,” explained the Statistician General.