Tackling residential robbery in priority police stations in South Africa requires a more strategic policing approach

The number of residential robberies and burglaries are on the increase in South Africa especially in Gauteng province according to Q1 2021 statistics of the South African Police Service (SAPS). It is in police stations such as Sandton, Honeydew and Douglasdale that there has been a chronic problem with residential robbery over at least a decade. In 2019/2020, Honeydew remains as the worst off police station for residential robbery followed by Nyanga in Cape Town, Sandton & Douglasdale.

For residential robbery to occur in particular areas requires a combination of 3 factors: 1) suitable targets, 2) motivated offenders and 3) a lack of capable guardians. Honeydew, Sandton & Douglasdale with their high per-capita income residential properties makes them suitable targets. Road access is also a critical aspect as the likely offenders are easily able to access the areas and having committed the crime, escape to safety. Within close proximity and within these high residential robbery crime police stations there are ‘likely offenders’.

Clearly, there are no capable guardians to bring about a reduction of residential robbery in these areas, and this does not only refer to the SAPS. A more significant change in the levels of residential robbery is a significant shift towards the townships of South Africa. With lockdown as a consequences of COVID-19 this shift has become far more intensified resulting in impoverished households becoming the target of this crime from motivated offenders in close proximity to where they live.

With the continued hardening of residential properties with the use of security infrastructure and the restricted movement of people because of Covid19 lockdowns, the likelihood of the residential burglary becoming aggravated increases, resulting in the high levels of residential robbery that we see in South Africa. The trend of residential robbery continues to increase and it is likely to continue until we develop appropriate policing and community prevention strategies.

Watch Romantha Botha of kykNET and AfricaScope’s Craig Schwabe in this kykNET video on residential robbery – click on the kykNET icon


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