More than 3.3 million crimes occur per year and half of them are not reported, according to a survey published by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).
It said according to data from Statistics SA, around 1.7m crimes [52%] were not reported to the police in 2011.
"These figures include 82 000 unreported cases of house robbery and 8 000 unreported car hijackings."
The SAIRR said at least 3.3m crimes were reported in 2011.
"One thousand murder cases went unreported in that year, which is three every day."
Kerwin Lebone, from the institute's research department, said expenditure on private security rose from R2bn in the 1990s to an estimated R50bn in 2011.
"All these facts taken together signify a lack of confidence in the police by some sections of the population," he said in the statement.
"Unlike information from the SA Police Service, which is based on actual cases reported, the Stats SA data is a sample survey of 31 000 private households (including workers’ hostels) in all provinces."
Lebone said the survey was an important document that complemented the annual police statistics.