Statistician General Pali Lehohla addressing the media in Pretoria on Thursday. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Pretoria - Crime experienced by households and individuals, aged 16 years and older, in South Africa has been decreasing, but hijackings and sexual offences has increased sharply, the Victims of Crime Survey 2016/17 report released by Statistics South Africa revealed on Thursday.

"Approximately seven percent of households in South Africa were victims of crime in 2016/17 compared to about nine percent [of] households in 2015/16. 

"The estimated number of incidents of crime also decreased for many types of crime," Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said on releasing the report at StatsSA's ISIbalo House in Pretoria.

Housebreaking incidents decreased by eight percent; home robbery decreased by 25 percent; and theft of personal property decreased by 12 percent.

However, hijacking of motor vehicles and sexual offences increased sharply by 93 percent and 110 percent respectively. 

StatsSA cautioned that hijackings and sexual offences statistics should be used cautiously as they fall under the second level of quality of acceptable statistics due to the small number of respondents that experienced the crimes in this category.

"The number of households which experienced crime have declined percentage-wise, that is the reality. The only province where they [crime figures] tended to increase is Limpopo as well as KwaZulu-Natal -- the rest show a decline in experiencing crime albeit very moderate declines," said Lehohla.

"Most of the crime occurs in houses, so your home is not very safe. Half of the crimes occur at the household level -- housebreaking, livestock theft, home robbery and theft out of motorcars."

An estimated total of 1.5 million crime incidents were experienced by approximately 1.2 million households in 2016/17. 

Male-headed households had a greater percentage of victimisation compared to female-headed households. 

Whilst households headed by Coloureds were the most likely to be victimised, households headed by black Africans were the least likely to be victimised by crime.