• Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Although our paths regularly cross with those of homeless people, we seldom think about them as potential vulnerable victims of serious crime. Read more about the in-depth article about how they are affected from p 44 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Ever thought about the fact that those who are falsely accused of crime are also victims? We explore the impact of these false allegations on these victims and look at the trauma of serving time when you are innocent in an article published from p 28 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Members of Flying Squads often arrive first at crime scenes to confront dangerous criminals. This month we pay tribute to the hardworking heroes of the Johannesburg Flying Squad and introduce their commander. Refer to the article from p 50 in Servamus: February 2018.

  • Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

    Many victims of crime choose not to report the incident to the police. We explore the reasons why; find out whether it is a situation unique to South Africa and look at the consequence of non-reporting of crime in an article published from p 10 in Servamus: February 2018.

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- Finding the answers and looking at the consequences
By Annalise Kempen

If you have been the victim of a property-related crime such as a housebreaking, stay in an urban area or have relatively easy access to a police station, chances are very good that you will report it to the police. For many victims the main reason for reporting such crimes is nothing more than the requirement of their short-term insurance cover to obtain a police case number in order to submit a claim. But what if you don't have insurance or easy access to a police station? Would you still take the trouble to report the crime to the police?

Each year, with the release of the SAPS's annual crime statistics, as well as Statistics SA's Victims of Crime Survey (VoCS), South Africans are reminded by numerous organisations and commentators that the crime pictures that are painted are not (necessarily) a true reflection of what is happening in our country. Lizette Lancaster from the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) notes that, following a report by the Minister of Police to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police on 3 March 2017, "these decreases may be the result of growing levels of under-reporting and under-recording of crime - rather than a real decrease". Using the VoCS of 2015/2016 as an example, Lancaster (2017) cites examples of how the SAPS's annual statistics differ from the inferences made in the VoCS. "In 2016, the SAPS recorded 253 716 home burglaries - representing a 2% increase over the past five years. According to the VoCS, the police statistics represent only about half of all break-ins taking place nationally, because only 47% of cases were reported to the police. In addition to burglaries, the police recorded 20 820 armed invasions of homes while the victims were present. This extremely traumatic crime is categorised as residential robbery, and increased by 24% since 2011/2012. The actual number of these crimes is estimated to be a third higher than the police statistics - due to under-reporting." Lancaster (2017) continues along the same lines with other crime categories that show under-reporting when the SAPS's annual statistics are compared to the findings of the VoCS.

The SAPS's annual statistics reflect the crimes reported to the police as well as those crimes that were detected as a result of police action such as the illegal possession of firearms of drugs. But there is clear evidence that not all crimes, either serious or petty in nature, are reported to the police and it is important to find some answers as to why victims make the decision not to report and what the ultimate consequences of such non-reporting or under-reporting are.

Victims of Crime Survey: perceptions of crime in South Africa
One of the sources consulted to find answers regarding factors that contribute to why people don't report crime is the Victims of Crime Survey (VoCS). Of the respondents, 51% of victims of housebreaking reported the crime to the police. Of these, 38% of households were satisfied with the police's response - which mostly included Indian/Asian and White respondents. Those who didn't report their housebreakings gave two main reasons, namely: 31.9% claimed that the "police could do nothing" while 28.3% claimed that "the police would do nothing". Given that this amounts to 60% of respondents, it speaks clearly to a lack of confidence in the police by a large part of the community. Apart from these two reasons, the respondents in the VoCS noted other reasons why they did not report housebreaking to the police:

  • 7.5% noted that they solved the case themselves or that the perpetrator was known to them;
  • 7% believed that the case was inappropriate for the police or that it was not necessary for the police to deal with the matter;
  • 3.5% reported the housebreaking to other authorities instead (which were not specified);
  • 4.3% noted that their families resolved the matter;
  • 1.3% claimed that they did not report the matter due to a fear or dislike of the police or that they did not want the police to be involved; and
  • 0.6% said that they did not dare to report the housebreaking to the police out of fear of reprisal.

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[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: February 2018. The rest of the article discusses, among others, reasons for not reporting sexual violence; the role of emotional distress and other characteristics in non-reporting; how under-/non-reporting of crime is not unique to South Africa – looking at the USA and the Netherlands; and the consequences of non-reporting crime to the police. To enquire how to obtain the rest of the article, contact Servamus’s offices at tel: (012) 345 4660 or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Servamus - February 2018

In high profile cases such as that of the Modimolle monster or Oscar Pistorius, the public heard, through the media, what impact the violent crime had on the victim and their families.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
People sleeping on sheets of cardboard under dirty old blankets on pavements or on dark park benches are a familiar sight when driving through the suburbs late at night.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
“You were wearing a low cut, short mini dress, what did you expect?” Those are often the first words a rape victim hears when she tells someone from whom she trusted to get support, after she was raped by a friend at a party.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
If you have been the victim of a property-related crime such as a housebreaking, stay in an urban area or have relatively easy access to a police station, chances are very good that you will report it to the police.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - February 2018

Read More - Solidarity [Trade Union] [on behalf of Sgt Armand] Gerber v SAPS and Others (C381/17) [2017] ZALCCT 36 (11 August 2017)*
This is a judgment of the Cape Town Labour Court which began when Sgt Gerber approached the court. Sgt Gerber suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic event in the course of his duty as a member of the SAPS.
Towards the end of 2017, various news agencies reported a story about a female university student from the Eastern Cape who mistakenly received a payment of R14 million instead of R1400 from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Read More - S V Byleveld 2017 (1) SACR 218 (NWM)
“252A. Authority to make use of traps and undercover operations and admissibility of evidence so obtained
Read More - S V Masoanganye and Others 2015 (2) SACR 577 (NWM)
Five accused persons were convicted and sentenced by a single judge before the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province on charges of theft, all in respect of amounts stolen from the Guardian Fund (Afrikaans: “Voogdyfonds”).
Read More - S V Ramoba 2017 (2) SACR353 (SCA)
The accused, who was 33 years of age at the time of sentencing before the regional court in Tzaneen in Limpopo, was convicted on 12 very serious charges whereupon he and his co-accused, were each sentenced to an effective term of 52 years’ incarceration.
These Regulations appear as Government Notice No R 1138, in Government Gazette No 41203 dated 27 October 2017 (“the ‘new’ Regulations”).

Letters - February 2018

A former police member, Lt-Col Mathews Leballo, has since his retirement not forsaken the needs of vulnerable groups.
The management and staff of Evaton SAPS got to celebrate Christmas on 20 December 2017 with Christmas Carols. The event was blessed by the Provincial Head Office Chaplain Rev Mudau.
A lot of crimes have been committed in 2017 and previously and some of these offenders are regretful of committing criminal acts.
Brig N G (Natty) Govender enlisted into the South African Police with the intention of becoming a motor technician.
According to an article published in the Sunday Times at the end of 2017, the SAPS has splashed out on what are believed the most expensive bulletproof vests in the world.
February 2018 Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.