More than 76 percent of South Africans say they have been victims of crimes ranging from kidnapping, murder and sexual assault to robbery and housebreaking. This is one of the findings in the State of Security Report, commissioned by the Automobile Association (AA), which is being released today.
In addition to reviewing official government statistics, the authors also conducted a wide-ranging survey with more than 1100 respondents to determine direct feedback on personal security in South Africa.
Among the findings of the Report is that South Africans rate their sense of safety as being less than 50 percent. The report also found that people feel less safe in outdoor public spaces such as parks, than indoor public spaces such as malls. The report finds that as a result of the perceived lack of security, many South Africans change their behaviour, or avoid certain areas or situations, and increasingly add security features to their homes.
Another startling finding is that only 43.5 percent of people in South Africa feel mostly safe in their own homes. Just over 15 percent of respondents say they feel completely safe in their own homes, which is a shocking finding considering that one’s home should be a safe haven.
The release of the results comes two months after the AA introduced its new mobile security app known as AA Armed Response. The app is available as part of the AA’s Rescue Me suite of apps within the AA app, or as a standalone app and provides users with personal armed security at the push of button.
“We initially launched the service in December last year as an addition to our range of Rescue Me services. Based on the findings of the report the launch of AA Armed Response is not only timely but critical given the staggering statistics of crime people are exposed to daily, especially in a worsening economy,” says Willem Groenewald, AA CEO.
He says having a button available on a smartphone to activate immediate personal armed security is a powerful tool which can literally be the difference between life and death.
“The AA is a member-based organisation but on the back of these findings we have decided to also make this service available to non-members. We felt this is important because our aim is to provide a valuable service to the public, while still retaining some core member benefits. Members will, however, be able to access AA Armed Response at a reduced rate to non-members,” says Mr Groenewald.
Mr Groenewald says that as a non-profit company, the AA has worked hard to ensure it provides affordable pricing to all South Africans.
“Our first goal is to provide South Africans with a tool to make themselves safer, and to do so at a rate everyone can afford,” Mr Groenewald says.
AA Armed Response is a location-based security solution which provides immediate co-ordinates of the user’s location to a call centre when activated. More than 160 private professional security companies throughout South Africa are contracted on the service and the closest security provider to the user’s position is then dispatched to provide armed assistance. The services rendered through AA Armed Response are provided by professional security personnel, from independent, registered security companies.
“This solution is intended to provide peace-of-mind to users – or to family members who gift it to other family members such as parents or guardians who sign up children to the service. But, more than this, it is a service which can be activated anywhere, anytime to actually provide security to someone in distress. It is, essentially, like having a private armed security officer in your pocket at all times,” he explains.
AA Armed Response is pre-loaded on all new Huawei smartphones.