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Issue Date: June 2004

An eye on crime: SAARF 'keeps 'em peeled'

1 June 2004

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) has released the first 12 month findings on violent and non-violent crime in South Africa, according to SAARF Crime Monitor.
Crime - a favourite dinner party topic, with personal anecdotes being related and embellished until who knows what the real picture is of crime in the country. In a sentence... the real picture is that 7% of all South Africans have been victims of violent crime in the past year, and 12,9% have been victims of non-violent crime.
This is the finding of the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF), which has released the first 12-month data for its SAARF Crime Monitor, part of the All Media and Products Survey (AMPS) self-completion questionnaire.
"While the media and product consumption habits of South Africans consumers are our primary concern, we are also interested in getting a clearer picture of who these consumers are," says SAARF CEO, Dr Paul Haupt. "How their lives have been touched by crime is an important piece in the puzzle, giving the users of our research products a better understanding of their target markets. SAARF Crime Monitor will also prove useful to government, which already makes use of SAARF's Development Index to track the progress of South African society." (Incidentally, the only two negatives shown by the SAARF Development Index are high crime and unemployment levels.)
Respondents were asked whether, in the past 12 months, they had personally been a victim of violent crime in South Africa, such as physical assault, mugging, gang attack, rape or hijacking (obviously excluding murder). They were also asked whether they had been a victim of non-violent crime, such as housebreaking, pick-pocketing, and car or cellphone theft.
At the business end of a gun
The highest incidence of both violent and non-violent crime occurred in the 25-34 age group, where almost a third of violent crime victims, and 28% of all non-violent crime victims are found. Moving into the older age brackets, those aged 50+ have a substantially lower than average risk of being crime victims - 11% of violent crime, and 16,8% of non-violent crimes occur in this age group.
Males are the victims of the majority of violent crimes. While men make up 48% of the population, they nonetheless attract a disproportionate 61,2% of violent crime, and 51% of non-violent.
Also bearing the brunt of violent crime is the black population. Almost 80% of violent crime victims are black, a slightly above-average incidence considering blacks make up 75% of the population. One quarter of non-violent crime is committed against whites, as is 12,8% of violent crime. For this group's size, it experiences an above-average incidence of non-violent crime (with an index of 178, where 100 is considered 'average').
Finally, when looking at crime as it occurs across various income groups, it is those in the R1400- R2499 monthly household income bracket who are most at risk of violence: one out of five violent crimes is perpetrated in this category.
Those households earning between R500 and R899 a month are also often at the receiving end of violence, accounting for 17,5% of violent incidents. In relation to its size, the top income bracket is most affected by non-violent crime. South Africa's 'haves' are the most likely targets for thefts, with an above-average incidence of such crime. Almost 15% of non-violent crime victims are members of the top earning households (R12 000+ per month), which is the smallest income bracket in the country (7,2% of households).
SA's safe havens and no-go zones
If safety and security are top of mind, the province of choice in South Africa must be the Northern Cape. Only 1,15% of violent crimes are committed in this province, and 1,3% of non-violent crimes. The Free State is also relatively without incident, accounting for 4,9% of both violent and non-violent crime.
Predictably, South Africa's 'Gangsters' Paradise' is the most dangerous province to call home. Over a quarter of all violent crime, and a quarter of non-violent crimes in South Africa occur in Gauteng. Following closely behind in the danger stakes is KwaZulu-Natal, where a quarter of violent crimes, and just over 20% of non-violent crimes are committed.
The incidence of crime in the other five provinces is:
As would be expected, the most crime-ridden communities are the metropolitans, which showed an above-average incidence of crime. Just over 40% of violent crime is committed in SA's metro areas (which a third of South Africans call home), and 41,8% of non-violent crime. Settlements and rural areas, populated by 40,5% of South Africans, are the scenes of a further 36,3% of violent crime, and 33,7% of non-violent.
Suburban areas with significantly above-average rates of violent crime include Soweto, Greater Johannesburg, Durban, East London, South Western part of the Cape Metro, Pietermaritzburg, the Reef, Vaal, and the West Rand. One in 10 violent crimes occurs on the Reef, where only 8% of the population resides. A further 9% occur in Greater Johannesburg, 7,7% in Durban, 6,3% on the East Rand, and 6% in Cape Town. Just under 5% occur in Soweto (which is nonetheless high considering that only 2,7% of the population lives here).
The Reef is also the scene for almost one in 10 non-violent crimes. Other non-violent crime hotspots include Cape Town (accounting for 7,9% of crimes), Greater Johannesburg (7,6%), Durban (7,5%), Pretoria and the East Rand (6,1% each). Although accounting for only 2,8% of all non-violent crime, in relation to the size of its population, South West Cape Metro has the most above-average rate of this type of crime, with an index of 185, where 100 is considered average. The West Rand too experiences above-average non-violent crime, with an index of 166 (2,1% of non-violent crime occurs here, in a population that accounts for only 1,3% of the total South African population).
Source: SAARF, website: www.saarf.co.za


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