‘Fear of crime fuels vigilantism in SA’

According to a survey, fear of violent crimes & dwindling confidence in police leads to vigilantism in SA.

The scene after a fourth teenager survived a necklacing in Etwatwa after residents took to the streets in vigilante attacks against alleged gangtsers. Picture: Emily Corke/EWN.

PRETORIA - Concerns have been raised over Statistics South Africa's (Stats SA) finding that South Africans increasingly fear crime, creating an environment for a greater number of vigilante incidents.

The victims of a crime survey, released in Pretoria today, shows that fear of crime has increased by several percent since 2011.

This correlates with crime statistics showing an increase in violent crime.

Stats SA says while fewer people feel safe at night, they're also less likely to report incidents of crime to the police.

Independent crime analyst Chris de Kok says a combination of factors creates a situation where people take the law into their own hands.

"If you have high levels of fear, and on the other hand you don't trust the police, and people live in fear; they are robbed and getting killed in the process; the next reaction is vigilantism."

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De Kok says intelligence should play a major role in fighting crime.

"You base your visibility on where these things happen, what time of the day does it occur and that will achieve success. That will restore the confidence."

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Stats SA says burglary and house robbery are the most feared crimes.