Brian Joss – Did you know that according to the Global Peace Index (GPI)* South Africa ranks within the bottom 20 countries in the world in terms of societal safety and security?
To understand this ranking better, the Automobile Association (AA) conducted its second State of Security research survey to gauge the level of safety and security experienced by South Africans before and during the nationwide lockdown which began on 26 March.
Respondents were asked how they expect their level of safety and security to change as the lockdown levels are eased. Overall results from this survey were then compared to the AA’s first State of Security report which was conducted in January 2020. The resultant comparison has shown that the state of security in the country has not improved but continues to decrease as time goes on.
“In response to the findings from our first survey we launched AA Armed Response, a mobile security solution serviced by more than 180 private security companies which activates the nearest security provider to a person’s location to provide assistance to them. The results from the second survey support our belief that citizens believe their safety and security remains compromised, and again highlights the need for personal security offerings such as ours,” notes the Association.
Of the 1517 respondents surveyed for the report, 42% claimed that they have added additional security features to their homes since the lockdown began which includes installing electric fencing, security gates and motion activated lights, as well as alarm systems and burglar bars on windows.
Respondents were asked to rate their overall perception of safety before the lockdown, during each level of the lockdown, and how safe they expect to feel after the lockdown.
According to the data collected, respondents felt safest during Level 5 of the lockdown with 18% feeling completely safe in comparison to 14% feeling not safe at all. Respondents indicated that they expected to feel less safe during Level 1 and post-lockdown. 30% of respondents indicated they would feel ‘not safe at all’ during Level 1 and post-lockdown, with only 6% in Level 1 and 8% in post-lockdown feeling completely safe. The perceived level of safety of individuals in South Africa is decreasing steadily as the lockdown levels are eased.
“Of particular concern is the finding that 66% of those polled indicated that they expect crime rates to increase as lockdown levels are eased, with only 12% indicating they do not expected this to happen. This is significant because it speaks to the feeling among respondents that their personal safety is under threat, again highlighting the need for increased personal security options,” notes the AA.
Another noteworthy finding is that 42% of respondents indicated a heightened anxiety since the onset of the lockdown, while 33% reported hypervigilance as a result of safety concerns.
In its conclusion, the State of Security II Report notes, “While crime decreased as the nationwide lockdown began, the current state of security in South Africa has continued to decrease as lockdown restrictions are eased. Before the lockdown, South Africans experienced a low sense of overall safety, and as the lockdown progressed, the sense of safety continually decreased.”
“The growing sense of a lack of personal security is concerning, and we again call on all authorities to play their role in providing adequate safety solutions to citizens. At the same time, we believe South Africans must be proactive about their own safety needs, and equip themselves with the necessary tools to protect themselves and their loved ones should the need arise,” concludes the AA.
The full State of Security Report II, available at: https://view.publitas.com/the-automobile-association-of-south-africa/state-of-security-report-ii