Victims of Crime Survey 2016/17

Victims of Crime Survey Released

Key findings from the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) have recently been released. The research was conducted by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) from April 2016 to March 2017.



For the last 20 years numerous surveys related to crime, crime victims and users of safety and security services and departments have been conducted. The results of these surveys are aimed at assisting government to measure the extent and levels of crime. In order for the Police to compile accurate statistics it is important that crimes are reported.

The survey covers 4 main topics:

  1. Household experience of Crime
  2. Individual experience of Crime
  3. Individual and Community Response to Crime
  4. Attitudes and Perceptions of Crime

Key Findings

  • Household crime in South Africa has been decreasing, however there is a trend showing that fewer households are victimized but more often (Repeat Victimisation Index).
  • Individual crime experienced by selected members of households aged 16 years and older has declined. The Free State and Mpumalanga provinces show a slower decline compared to other provinces.
  • There is no noteworthy difference between male and female headed households in terms of the number of incidents per household. However, male headed households were more likely to be victimised compared to female-headed households. White Households were more likely to experience a large number of incidents of crime, while households headed by coloured people were more likely to be victimized.
  • The most common crime was housebreaking or burglary, followed by theft of livestock and home robbery. Crimes least experienced by households were murder and theft of crops planted by the household. Motor vehicle related crime (theft of motor vehicle, theft out of motor vehicle and motor vehicle vandalism/deliberate damage of motor vehicle) accounted for about 14,7% of all household crime.
  • The most common individual crime is theft of personal property, followed by assault and robbery.
  • Only 51% of victims of housebreaking reported the crime to the police due to “police could do nothing” and “the police would do nothing”. 38% that did report the crimes were happy with the police response.
  • The feeling of being safe walking in the neighbourhood has declined – this is especially at night.
  • The insurance status of vehicles for households that experienced motor vehicle theft affects the number of cases reported.
  • It is still debatable what criminals look for or find during housebreaking. It is however not possible to say whether housebreakers target some items or whether they simply take what they find. Estimates show that over 54 % of households lost electronic equipment while 29% reported lost cellphones.
  • With regards to individual crimes cellphones led the list of items lost through theft of personal property affecting 84% of the victims. This was followed by theft of money, purse or wallet affecting over 51% of the victims.

More in depth results can be found in the Stats SA Publication - Victims of Crime Survey.  Alternatively read more about crime stats in South Africa released by the South African Police Service.