Port Elizabeth – More residents of Nelson Mandela Bay are afraid to go out after dark than in any other metro in South Africa.
This is according to a report on public perceptions about crime prevention and the criminal justice system released by Statistics SA on Tuesday. The report was compiled using the results from the Victims of Crime Survey and administrative data supplied by the South African Police Service.
Statistician General Pali Lehohla said the survey explored the nature and scope of fear among South Africans, as well as public perceptions about the justice system.
“Crime as a social phenomenon has increasingly been a topic of discussion amongst South Africans, and its high prevalence remains a challenge,” he said.
“The fear of victimisation is looming large in the national psyche and it infringes on people’s ability to move and associate freely, whether it is in their area of residence or where they work or socialise,” he said.
According to the survey, Nelson Mandela Bay had the highest number of households that felt unsafe while out when it was dark (80.2%), followed by the City of Johannesburg (75.4%) and the City of Cape Town (73.1%). Households in eThekwini municipality (59.7%) and the City of Tshwane (63.4%) had the lowest proportion of households who felt unsafe walking after dark.
Police response times in Nelson Mandela Bay also came under the spotlight in the report. Despite 88.2% of residents living within 30 minutes of their nearest police station, the report showed that 50.7% of those surveyed indicated that it took the police between 30 minutes and an hour to respond to an emergency call.
The Bay had the second worst response time overall, behind eThekwini, with only 26.5% of calls being responded to in under 30 minutes. In eThekwini only 20.9% of calls were attended to in under 30 minutes.
The report indicated that overall levels of satisfaction with the police have dropped between 2011 and 2013-14.
“The perceptions that the police do not respond on time, that they are lazy and that they are corrupt, tended to influence the public’s poor rating of the police,” Lehohla said.
“The high crime rate in this province negatively impacts on the environment for investment and economic growth. Unless we can stamp out crime, jobs will continue to decline,” said DA spokesperson for Safety and Security Bobby Stevenson.