Monday, December 07, 2009

Lottery of Life in SA

I was quite surprised to note that the Google predictive search facility popped up a massive 37,300,000 searches for the phrase “South African crime statistics 2009” which goes to show that a lot of people are interested in the situation there.

Given the 2009 statistics, things do not bode well for the future. We all know it. But have you ever considered what are your actual chances of becoming a victim of crime in South Africa? (no doubt about it, this is a question on
many a tourist’s mind with the soccer cup looming)

Now, I’m no statistician (this is probably a better post for VI to do but I’m sure he will check out the numbers)

To start off, by way of illustration, ask yourself what are your odds of winning the lottery?

According to
this calculator, a typical lottery system of 49 numbers, playing 6 numbers, once off, your chances are 1 in 13,983,816.00.

Not good. VI would just laugh and say there's a better way to spend your money. You may think you can increase your chances by playing the lotto twice a week for a year, and perhaps increase your odds of winning to 1/134459 (the number of times played divided by 13,983,816.00) but this is NOT the case. Each time you play the lotto, your chances remain a dismally low 1 in 13,983,816.00.

The only way to increase your chances of winning is by playing MORE numbers. Buying more tickets per game. And this brings us neatly to the crime situation in SA where becoming a victim of crime is not only a distinct possibility, but a GUARANTEED “lottery from hell win” for everyone in SA.

Here are
the stats. I have not included some categories of crime such as business crime, drugs, fraud, reckless driving and road rage (taxis) etc etc. I just wanted to calculate the chances that you, Joe/ Sheila Bloggs will be effected by crime, up close and personal, by virtue of the fact that you reside in SA.

18148 Murder - 1/2717
70514 Rape - 1/699
18298 – Attempted Murder - 1/2695
203777 – Assault with intent to do GBH – 1/242
192838 – Common assault - 1/255
121392 – Robbery with aggravated circumstances - 1/406
59232 – Common robbery - 1/832
246000 – Burglary (residential) - 1/200
90163 (Motor Vehicle Theft includes hijacking) – 1/547
109548 – Vehicle smash/grab -1/450
30043 - Stock theft - 1/1641
394124 – Other theft - 1/125


On the right hand side are your chances of becoming a victim. In total, your chances of becoming a victim of one of those crimes during this year is 1 /31 (Given the total population figure of

If you exclude the 0 – 14 year age group, that rises to 1/21 (Total population of 15 years plus is

Well, now you know why you keep asking yourself questions such as “Is the gate triple padlocked?”
“Is the electric fence on?”
“Am I able to skip this red robot (traffic light) or should I stop?”

Your chances of becoming a victim this year are indeed very high, WAY beyond the likelihood of ever winning the lottery, and given any length of stay in SA, quite certain. You will be a victim, sooner or later. Unlike winning the lotto this week, don’t think it cannot happen to you.

3 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

The whites are the big losers in the S.A. lottery of life - that is why they should get out as soon as possible!

Anonymous said...

It's too optimistic. No demographics. For instance the 40% unemployment rate (the rich don't steal from or murder the poor)
If you factor it all in it's probably 1 out of 2 chances, 50/50.Best lottery chance in the world

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:08 ia right, but for the sake of an exercise, let's explore. The 1 in 31 can be adjusted for a family of four. So this becomes a 1 in 7.5. Then you can adjust for four families that you know. Very quickly you arrive at a situation where someone close is a victim of crime every year, without extraordinary statistical gymnastics.