South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It has a population of approximately 54,959,900. The safety of this country’s residents and tourists is the responsibility of the South African Police Service (SAPS). This organization is divided into over 1,000 police stations located across all 9 provinces.
Despite this system of police officials, South Africa faces significant crime rates. Compared to the rest of the world, this country has higher rates of murder, violent crimes, rapes, and assaults. The government completed a study in 2007 to understand the cause of this violence. The results identified several influential factors, including: the cultural belief that violence is an acceptable conflict resolution technique, the corruption of the justice system, the high levels of poverty and unemployment, and the informal culture of gangs and professional criminals. This article takes a look at which cities have the highest crime rates in South Africa.
6. Cape Town -
Cape Town is located on the southwestern coast of South Africa. It has a population of 433,688 within city limits and 3.74 million in the entire metro area, making it the second most populated city in the country. Additionally, Cape Town is the most dangerous city in South Africa and is often cited as one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world (according to the murder rate alone).
In 2015, this city reported 2,451 murders which averages to 65.53 per 100,000 people. Other crimes also increased between the 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015 reports. For example, contact-related crimes increased by 1.9%, aggravated robbery increased by 8.5%, and carjackings increased by 14.2%. According to the Numbeo Crime Index, which is based on survey responses, this city has a crime ranking of 72. This survey centers its questions around perceived threats of crime.
5. Port Elizabeth -
Port Elizabeth is located along the coastline, 478 miles east of Cape Town. Its entire metropolitan area has a population size of 1.15 million. Within the eastern cape region of South Africa, this is the most dangerous city.
General crime has been increasing here over the last 3 years. This fact combined with the level of corruption throughout the police department and justice system have given this city an overall crime rating of 72.56. The residents of this city are most worried about assault, armed robbery, and home robberies. Very few of the people living here feel safe walking alone at night. Despite these concerns, some instances of crime have decreased over the last few years. For example, the murder rate has decreased to 35.85 per 100,000. This figure translates to 413 homicides in 2015, an increase over 2013 and 2014.
4. Durban -
Durban, the busiest port city in South Africa, is the third most populated city in the country. It has a population size of 3.44 million in the metropolitan area. This is one of the most dangerous cities in the Kwazulu Natal province.
In 2015, the local government of Durban reported 1,237 homicides. This means the murder rate was 35.93 per 100,000 people, higher than the 33 per 100,000 national average. During the 1990’s, violence in this city escalated significantly. In 1999, for example, the murder rate reached 83 per 100,000 but this alarming number decreased after the year 2000. Unfortunately, the city has been seeing an increase in murders since 2010.
In overall crime, Durban has ranked 79.9. People living here have reported that their greatest concerns are: mugging, robberies, home break ins, vandalism and armed robbery. They also report a very high concern about the level of bribery and corruption in the local justice system. Additionally, the vast majority of people do not feel safe walking alone at night.
3. Pretoria -
Pretoria is situated in the northern region of South Africa and belongs to the Gauteng province. It serves as the center for the executive branch of government and has a total population of more than 2.9 million.
Although the murder rate in this city is not as high as that found in the previously mentioned cities, its crime ranking, 80.77, places it as the 3rd most dangerous city in the country. For 2015, the local government of Pretoria reported a total of 12,682 instances of crime. These crimes range from assault to rape and armed robbery to murder.
One of the residents’ most pressing concerns is having their home broken into and their personal belongings stolen. As in the other cities mentioned, residents here are also extremely concerned about the level of corruption in the local law enforcement and justice system. Of less concern, but still high on the list, is the worry of being attacked due to skin color, ethnicity, or religious identity. This city also ranked low in feeling safe enough to walk alone during the daytime.
2. Johannesburg -
Johannesburg is the capital of the province of Gauteng and the most populated city in South Africa. It has a population of over 4.43 million. In the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area, however, that number increases to 7.86 million. According to the Numbeo Crime Index, this is the second most dangerous city in the country with a ranking of 83.36.
Since the 1990’s, poverty in Johannesburg has increased significantly, becoming one of the principal factors contributing to crime. Residents of this city report that their number 1 biggest concern is the level of corruption and accepted bribery throughout the city. This concern has led to an overall feeling of insecurity. Other major concerns here include: assault, armed robbery, vandalism, theft, and carjacking. Johannesburg also ranks very low in terms of residents feeling safe enough to walk alone at night.
1. Pietermaritzburg -
Pietermaritzburg is the provincial capital of Kwazulu Natal. It has a population of approximately 500,000, making it one of the least populated cities on this list. However, its residents have reported significant instances of crime, which places this city as the most unsafe in South Africa.
Its Numbeo Crime Index is 87.1. This city has 6 principal police stations, 3 of which reported an increase in homicides in 2015. Unlike in other cities on this list, the residents of Pietermaritzburg did not report bribery and corruption as their biggest concern. Instead, fears of assault, armed robbery, home break-ins, and muggings were higher. Additionally, this city had the lowest safety ranking for walking alone at night and during the day.