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Durban - The Victims of Crime Report for 2018/2019 revealed that the percentage of victims of sexual offences who reported at least one incident was 88%, a "dramatic increase" from 73% in the previous reporting year, said Statistics South Africa (StatsSA). 

The report was released by StatsSA on Thursday, its information extracted from the governance, public safety and justice survey (GPSJS). 

The report also found:

- An increase in incidents of deliberate damage of residential property and arson, theft of personal property and street robbery increased in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18.  There were about 70 000 incidents of deliberate damage to residential property and arson in 2018/19. This crime affected 0.32% of households in South Africa. Female-headed households in the metropolitan areas were the most likely to be victims of such crimes.

- The Western Cape had the highest (1,9%) percentage of people aged 16 and above who were victims of street robbery, compared to other provinces. The weapons used for street robbery were knives (62%) and guns (37%).

- In 2018/19 there were about 1,2 million incidents of theft of personal property affecting 2,5% of people aged 16 or older. The most likely victims were males, white, young adults and people living in the Western Cape and Gauteng. 

The number of incidents for all other crime types remained more or less the same as last year, according to StatsSA. This included housebreaking, home robbery, hijacking, car theft, murder and assault. 

There were about 1,3 million incidents of housebreaking, affecting 5,8% of households. The most likely victims of housebreaking were male-headed households, households in metros, Indian/Asian households, followed by white households, very low and very high income households, households in the Northern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. About 48% of affected households reported to the police.

An estimated 12 000 murders were committed in 2018/19, affecting about 0.07% of households in South Africa. All affected households reported to the police. 

According to SAPS data, there were 32 000 murders during the same period. 

The main reason for the "huge gap" between GPSJS estimates of murder and SAPS statistics, according to StatsSA, was that GPSJS estimates were based on murders that were known to households. SAPS handle murders that may not be known to households, such as murders of homeless people, immigrants, temporary visitors and gang related murders. 

The survey also revealed that in 2018/19, there were about 260 000 incidents of home robberies affecting about 1% of all households. The most likely victims of home robbery were households in metros, white-headed households, and households headed by young adults. The most common weapons used in home robbery were guns (54%) and knives (47%). About 60% of households reported one or more incidents of home robbery to the police.

There were about 32 000 incidents of hijacking of motor vehicles in 2018/2019. This included hijacking of trucks. About 0,08% of individuals aged 16 and older were hijacked. About 85% of all hijackings were reported to the police.

For the same reporting period, there were about 500 000 incidents of assault experienced by 0,7% of individuals aged 16 or above. The most likely victims of assault were males and young adults. About 50% of victims of assault reported to the police.

The report also revealed an increase in the percentage of citizens who felt safe walking alone in their areas during the night. This increased from 32% in 2017/18 to 35% in 2018/19. 

A greater percentage of males felt safer during the night and day. Rural (24%) people felt safer than urban (15%) dwellers, and people in metros (8%) during the day. About 45% of the people in metros felt unsafe at night compared to urban people (42%) and rural people (39%).

African News Agency (ANA)