South Africa’s fourth essential utility — private security

Just as Internet access is rapidly becoming a third essential utility for South African homes after water and electricity, a fourth has emerged — private security.

Vumacam has released the results of a survey conducted with Fletcher Advisory to gauge people’s perceptions and awareness of having CCTV installed around their neighbourhoods.

The survey also asked respondents to rank the importance of goods, services, and activities they spend money on.

Internet access took the top two spots, followed closely by home security and being able to enjoy outdoor activities.

Overall, safety, Internet and defence against load-shedding ranked higher than entertainment like dining out or having coffee with friends.

It is no surprise that South Africans rank home security’s importance similarly to essential utilities.

“South Africa is plagued by some of the highest levels of crime worldwide,” said Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock.

“Statistics show that our country has the third-highest crime rate in the world, expressed per 100,000 people.”

The Global Peace Index has South Africa ranked as the tenth most unsafe place in the world to live. This index also estimates that violent crime consumes up to 19% of the country’s GDP.

The Gallup Law and Order Index ranked South Africa the fifth most dangerous country out of the 144 countries covered.

“If one thing is clear, it is that crime robs South Africans of lives, livelihoods and confidence in our country’s future,” said Croock.

Vumacam and Fletcher Advisory survey results on South Africans’ financial priorities

In August, the South African Police Service (SAPS) presented the country’s quarterly crime statistics for the April to June 2022 period.

It showed that although contact crimes had decreased overall, crimes like hijacking, murder, theft, burglary, and robbery all saw increases.

South Africa recorded 6,424 murders, 39,638 residential burglaries, and 5,370 residential robberies during the period.

Sexual offences declined, but remained high at 11,855 recorded cases during the quarter.

The researchers also asked respondents about their experience of crime, and they all indicated that they had been impacted by crime in some way at some point in their life.

Although the survey focused mainly on how crime had impacted respondents while in public, a high percentage indicated that crime had knock-on effects on other areas of their lives.

68% said they had experienced damage to their home, 58% said there had been damage to their vehicles, 45% said shops they most often visited were impacted by crime, and 28% said their office and workspaces had been hit.

“As daunting as these figures are, South Africa’s positive attributes are abundant,” Croock said.

“For those of us who call this home, the need to tackle crime and live, work, and enjoy in a safe country is pivotal. We cannot do this without taking critical, urgent steps to tackle crime.”

Ricky Croock, Vumacam CEO

It should be noted that the survey results are skewed towards male South Africans and heavily biased towards those who are employed and own properties in Gauteng.

There were 1,201 respondents who completed the survey by 5 October 2022, giving a confidence level of 89% and a 4% margin of error.

Respondents came from geographical regions in Gauteng that spanned urban, peri-urban, suburbs, townships, and semi-rural or agricultural areas.

This included Fourways to Soweto, Pretoria, Germiston, Benoni, Bedfordview, Alexandra, Mnandi, Diepsloot, Sandton, Orange Grove and Sydenham.

Most respondents were from Pretoria, and Parkhurst, Orange Grove, Linksfield, Bryanston and Alexandra in Johannesburg.

56% were male, 73% were employed, 70% owned their property, and 75% lived in freehold houses, while 22% were in complexes, estates, or apartments.

The results are therefore not indicative of the average perception of all South Africans, but of those who are employed and own homes outside of security estates.

“We are encouraged that the research shows high levels of confidence in a collaborative, coordinated approach to combatting this immense threat to our democracy,” Croock stated.

“Those already using our technology and benefiting from it, and those yet to be protected by it, have shown their willingness to both participate in, and contribute to, SafeCity initiatives.”


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South Africa’s fourth essential utility — private security