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Two Limpopo police officers were arrested and sentenced to five years' imprison for taking a R1,000 bribe. Image: Twitter

What official stats doesn’t tell you about crime in South Africa

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This is what it is termed hidden crime as they go unpunished because of the fallure of reporting such crimes by the victims.

What the official stats covers emerge to be crimes that are taken and reported to the authority such as the South African Police Service (SAPS), a humongous number of serious crimes isn’t reported due to being committed by relatives or someone seen as the breadwinner of the clan.

Scholars documented that a huge segment of families in South Africa still perform what is termed familial etiquettes where the elders would call a meeting acting as presiding officers of the matter to be heard irrespective of the crime committed. Families partaking in such practice strongly believes they are saving the clan more embarrassment failing to cogitate as to the ‘how would such act impact on the victim’ part, albeit this isn’t what I am blogging about.

Recently, Statistics South Africa has published its latest Victims of Crime Survey (VoCS) exhibiting how thousands of crime go unreported nationwide.

The survey gives perspective foreign or in substitution to the latest crime statistics published by SAPS in November, showing a significant decrement in criminal activity over the latest quarter. Having said that the decrement follows lockdown strictly introduced in the country due to the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19).

Thus, the official crime stats are merely based on incidents and crimes reported to the police and some found through police action, literally the data can only tell us of the crimes that go through official process not giving a reflection of the real crime levels in SA.

Some people are afraid of coming across authorities, not because they are criminals or has been detained before, they just di not like facing the police, but so keen to talk anonymously about their experiences as the victims of crimes, something I discovered through my victimology studies.

VoCS survey gives a thorough reflection to the criminal activity shared or emanating from victims’ experiences, disclosing discrepancies interval experiences of crime and reported crime in South Africa. The survey revealed that survey number of crimes go unreported, as such they are not documented or comprehended in the SAPS’ official data showing to the public, the number of crimes reported to authorities.

The survey shows that there was a total of 72 0 incidences of deliberate damaging, burning, or destruction of residential dwellings affecting 52 000 households (0,3%). Only 55,4% of the incidents were reported to the police.

Following introduction of trchnology in SA, 384 000 individuals, aged 16 and older, experienced customer fraud in a total of 1,4 million incidents. These incidences’ huge number is attributed to advanced-fee fraud such 419 scams, R99 credit/debit card scam and so forth. Only 26% incidents of customer fraud are reported to the police, 74% go unreported.

85 000 South Africans aged 16 years and older experience 99 000 hijackings, 78% of which are reported to the police, 22% go unreported. This is the most reported crime reported to authorities in SA.

Housebreaking seem to be rising in SA as 1,2 million incidences are experienced by 891 000 households which represents 5,3% of SA households, housebreakings is reported 51,7% of the whereas the remainder go unreported.

Assault is not even half of the committed times reported to the police, as 41,4% of the 294 000 assaults experienced by 225 000 victims is reported.

561 000 street robberies occur in SA, having being experienced by 451 000 individuals interval 16 years and old, roughly 42% of the incidences thereof is reported, 58% incidences go unpunished and/or unreported.

VoCS made an estimation of 1,1 million incidents of personal property that occurred in 2019/20, affecting 902 thousand individuals aged 16 years and older. This number reflects 2,2% of South African population.About 38% (approximately 38.2%) of individuals who experienced such crime reported it to the police, meaning 61.8% didn’t report the crime to the police.

Out of 88 000 motor vehicle theft incidences experienced by 82 000 households, 78,8% of them are reported to police with a slight number (21,2%) going unreported.

An estimated 169 000 incidences of home robberies occurred, affecting 139 000 households (0,8% of households in SA) 2019/20. 54,5% of the households report the incidences to the police with 55,5% going unreported.

Based on my observation, some of the incidences that are not even touched by the SA stats reports results to murder, having a minute portion taken to the police. For instance, people from rural areas are not likely to take part in the conducted surveys due to lack of access to materials or resources taking one to partaking in the survey thereof. It is highly possible that 2 out of 10 in Ga-Sekhukhune might partake in the survey whilst 7 out of 10 faces peculiar incidences. And local or rural police stations wrongfully document the real stats, this may occur due to lack of the comprehension of foreign language – English. The outcomes of taking into consideration, graduates in possession of relevant qualifications.

Nota Bene: The stats are elaborated in the most simplest way ever, the 25%, for instance, of reported crimes represent 25% of the individuals or households who reported them, vice versa.