South Africans have become increasingly afraid of being victims of crime. David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
The amount of money spent on the SAPS and private security companies for preventing crime is estimated to be R160 billion.

The big spend on security reveals a much bigger picture, according to Sasfin economist David Shapiro.

“It’s a sad day when we have to invest this kind of money in security, and people are spending this over and above taxes.

“What does this do to our future investments?

“People will not want to live in or invest in a country where crime is at a high rate, despite the billions spent to protect citizens.

“Do not underestimate what this means to our economy,” Shapiro said.

It is the fear of criminals that has pushed citizens over the edge to get all the security bells and whistles they can afford, crime expert Dr Johan Burger said.

The turnover of security businesses stood at R70bn per annum, according to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) spokesperson Siziwe Zuma.

The police’s budget was almost R88bn in 2016/17.

Still, more than a million crimes have been perpetrated.

The crime statistics show more than 1.6m criminal cases, including robbery and sexual assault, were reported to the police between April last year and March, down from the previous period.

Four hundred and thirty-three thousand crimes were detected as a result of police work, which has increased from the previous period.

Burger, who is also a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said while the statistics show crime has decreased, people have become increasingly afraid of being victims.

“Through social media and traditional media, we are becoming more aware of criminal elements around us.

“Those who can afford it are spending huge amounts on big electric fences, burglar guards, alarm systems, and the services of an armed response company,” he said.

It’s been this way for the past 10 years, according to a report by the ISS.

The report ‘Reducing Violence in South Africa’ published last year, revealed that over the past 10 years SAPS’ budget has increased by 139%.

The additional funding has largely been spent on employing more staff in the service as a response to the public’s anxiety about crime, but has failed to deliver a decrease in violent crime, the report revealed.

Private security company Blue Security spokesperson, Andreas Mathios, said the industry was developing prevention methods. “High-end security companies are putting more technology and advanced resources to predict crime from the ground,” he said.

Weekend Argus