South Africa (tics)

2013 update Crime statistics in South Africa

Thanks to David Untiedt who took the trouble to contact Zinn and get the real story.

Prof Rudolph Zinn says, "I am aware of an email on ‘SA Residential Robbery Research’ that is circulating at the moment on the Internet and seem to have gone ‘viral’. The email includes a report that is falsely presented as a summary of my research report on ‘house robberies’ (home invasions). There are also various versions of the report that are being circulated. Some of these ‘reports’ have subsequently also been posted on the website of community policing forums, the internet and a local blog. I must however point out that the information in the ‘summary’ or ‘reports’ was compiled by someone who distorted the facts and added his/her own findings and recommendations and presented as if taken from my research data. Some of the information in the false report borders on being ridiculous for example the ‘recommendations’ to plant ‘thorny plants, smear grease or Vaseline on downpipes’ and the over simplifying of the offenders who are involved in these crimes, etc.

The original research was concluded in 2008 and is available in the University of South Africa’s (Unisa) library (also online [actually no, only if you marry Unisa]). The title of the original report is INCARCERATED PERPETRATORS OF HOUSE ROBBERY AS A SOURCE OF CRIME INTELLIGENCE. A condensed version of the report was published by NB Publishers and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) with the title Home Invasions: Robbers Disclose what you should know.

Crime statistics in South Africa (August 2009)

  • During the past year, house robberies increased by 13,5%.
  • Of the almost 15 000 residential robberies committed in 2008, half (50%)took place in Gauteng.
  • The average age of a house robber is between 19 and 26 years.
  • An average of 30% of all house robbers have either committed murder, or won't hesitate to commit murder.
  • Only 17% of house robbers are foreigners.
  • Of all arrested robbers, 90% had no matric or were unemployed. The 10% who had been employed, gave up their jobs when confirming how much they could "earn" from a robbery.
  • Most victims or targets are affluent persons who openly display their wealth, e.g. expensive cars, jewellery, up market homes.
  • Much intelligence is gathered about the target home and its residents by means of inside information supplied by domestic workers.
  • 80% of residential robberies are committed with the help of information from domestic workers, gardeners and former employees.
  • The robbers will monitor the home and movements for as long as is needed to formulate a plan of attack - sometimes up to two weeks.
  • All gangs research and monitor the response times of armed response companies.
  • Most attacks occur between 19:00 and midnight as people are relaxed, busy cooking or watching TV,& security systems and
    beams are not activated. Robberies continue until 04:00 in the morning.
  • The biggest deterrent confirmed by robbers themselves, are small dogs that are kept inside the home.
  • Alarm systems and armed reaction services are not considered a deterrent. Electric fences, closed-circuit TV (CCTV) and detection beams do, however, deter robbers.
  • An average of R5 000 is stolen during each robbery.
  • Surprisingly, victims of house robberies are only seriously injured in 2% of all incidents.
  • Only 35% of robbers stole for basic needs (hunger, poverty), while 65% enjoyed the money and spent it on clothes, cars, etc.
  • The average robber commits 103 robberies over seven years before being caught.
  • A staggering 97% of all robbers are armed and on average there are four members in an armed robbery gang.
  • Most attackers' homes or bases are a 10 to 30 minute drive from the target address.
  • Women are more often tortured or hurt during house robberies.
  • The conviction rate for house robberies in South Africa is only 7.67%. In the USA it is 53%.

Source: Dr Rudolph Zinn of the School of Criminal Justice at UNISA. (There are plenty of people who quote the study, but the study is nowhere online that I could find. Please let me have the link if you have one.)


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