Only 31% of citizens feel safe in South Africa

Only 31% of South Africans feel either ‘mostly safe’ or ‘completely safe’ in the country. 37% of citizens feel either ‘barely safe’ (22%) or ‘not safe at all’ (15%) in South Africa.

The majority of South Africans (32%) feel somewhat safe living in the country. This is one of the findings of the Automobile Association’s (AA) 2023 Quarter 4 State of Security Report (SoS Report) released today. According to the statistics, 76% of all respondents reported being a victim of a crime in South Africa.

In addition to reviewing current official crime statistics released by the government, researchers of the SoS Report also conducted a wide-ranging survey with 1438 respondents to determine direct feedback on personal security in South Africa. The study was conducted in March and April.

According to the findings, South Africans feel most unsafe in outdoor public spaces (45%) and during their daily commute (25%). In their own homes, the survey found that South Africans either feel ‘safe’ (30%), ‘very safe’ (20%), or ‘extremely safe’ (14%). However, a staggering 36% of people indicated that their either feel only ‘somewhat safe’ (29%), or ‘not safe at all’ (7%) in their homes.

According to official crime statistics murders recorded for Quarter 3 (October-December 2022) increased by almost 8% from July-September 2022 from 7004 to 7555. Sexual offences saw a significant increase over the same period from 13283 in the July-September period to 15545 in the October-December period, an increase of 17%. Increases were recorded across all contact crime categories (assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, common assault, and common robbery). The number of these cases combined (with murder and sexual offences) rose from 162518 from July-September 2022 to 184020 in October-December 2022, or by more than 13%.

The number of sexual offences (including rape and sexual assault) also rose significantly over these periods with 12419 rape cases being recorded in the October-December 2022 period, up from 10590 in the July-September period.

“These numbers are not only an indication of the nightmare many South Africans face daily, but they are indicative of a government which has totally lost control against crime. Not only do these statistics showing crime is increasing but they also show, alarmingly, that 81% of South Africans trust private security more than they do the South African Police Service (SAPS),” notes Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA.

Groenewald further comments, “Given these statistics – and the fact that 88% of respondents indicated they believe crime will increase in the future – it’s no surprise that more and more people are spending money on personal security such as more burglar bars, alarm systems, and security cameras at their homes.”

Groenewald says because of official crime statistics, and the results of the first State of Security survey conducted in 2019/2020 which indicated people’s willingness to carry personal security panic devices with them, the AA introduced its mobile security app known as AA Armed Response.

“Since we first introduced AA Armed Response which was only available through a mobile app, we introduced a small standalone device called AA REMI which provides any user access to more than 200 armed security service providers throughout the country. We understand personal security for people and their families is a priority and this is our way of ensuring some peace-of-mind to citizens in the country,” he notes.

AA Armed Response and AA REMI is a location-based security solution which provides immediate co-ordinates of the user’s location to a call centre when activated. More than 200 private professional security companies throughout South Africa are contracted on the service and the closest security provider to the user’s location is then dispatched to provide armed assistance. The services rendered through AA Armed Response and AA REMI are provided by professional security personnel from independent, registered security companies.

Groenewald says AA Armed Response and AA REMI has no limitations in terms of use, and can be activated by users who feel threatened, or even if someone is at their own home which has a separate armed security service.

“Our country is a dangerous place, and the statistics show that our law enforcement agencies are failing to effectively deal with the problem. People desperately want to feel safe, but many don’t feel comfortable carrying weapons, which is also not a solution for children. We believe that our AA REMI offering is an easy, reliable, effective, and affordable solution for everyone in the family,” concludes Groenewald.

For more information on AA Armed Response visit https://aa.co.za/aa-armed-response/