The high rate of crime in South Africa is a major concern for tourists as it is for expatriates moving to or living in Cape Town.
On this page you will find information on the latest South African crime statistics published in September 2015 and the latest Victim of Crime surveys from December 2015. Further we will share some insights and safety tips below.
South Africa is known to have one of the crime rates in the world regarding assault, rape and murder. Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban are ranked usually as critical crime threat locations. With xenophobic outbreaks and recurring protest actions along the cities' major highways, many expats and foreigners are wondering about the crime situation and their safety in South Africa.
The many news about unrest and murder incidents are in fact very intimidating. When moving to South Africa, be prepared to investigate which area to move to, where to live and which places to avoid, so you can minimise the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
Crime and violence affect everybody like everywhere else in the world. In South Africa, most crimes are reported in poorer areas, but also the residents in more affluent suburbs are affected by violence and crime. There are certain areas especially in the townships which are no-go areas, if you are not accompanied by a local guide and are introduced to the area.
Make sure, that you get in-depth information about an area unknown to you or contact the local police station for current advice, if you are not certain that the area you plan to visit, work in or travel through is safe.
To help you get a better overview of the situation of crime in South Africa, we decided to have a look again at the latest South African crime statistics as reported in September 2015 and give you some insights.
The main figures given in the latest South African Crime Statistics in comparison to the statistics of the last year (2013/14 to 2014/15) state:
Note: Only reported crime is taken into the data, the real crime figures are estimated to be higher, as for example rape victims often do not report this serious offence in fear of reprisals. Further burglary and animal stock theft is not always reported to the police.
The Victim of Crimes Survey is a countrywide household based survey undertaken by StatisticsSA to explore the perceptions of the public in regards to crime prevention and activities dealing with crime and victimisation. Data is collected in form of face-to-face interviews at randomly chosen homes. The accuracy is limited to the actual answers by the victims and their ability to recall past victimisation events. The data is thus collected completely differently to the police statistics which only give a picture about reported crimes and incidents.
Here are some interesting findings:
Carjackings happened in all provinces. Over 11,000 carjackings are reported in the Crime Statistics 2015. The provinces with the most occurrences of the nine provinces are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
Read more about carjackings and prevention tips.
In regards to more recent burglaries at shopping malls and various stores selling goods of high value, the only advice is too be vigilant who is in and around the shops or in the malls. It is a scary thought to get involved in a crime situation, but unfortunately only good security can prevent this - as everywhere in the world - and shopkeepers and staff at malls are called to take their task more seriously and employ better preventative measures as well.
It is highly recommended, to take some basic safety precautions, when moving to and living in South Africa. For further information on these specific precautions which you should take on not to become a victim of crime in South Africa, read our safety tips for Cape Town.
• Find the 2014/2015 statistics here. Beware that there is only a limited section available to the public this year.
Read the more comprehensive South African crime statistics 2014 in all its details. You will find here the most recent information by the SAPS (South African Police Service) about the situation of crime in South Africa.
• A really good information is the Crime and Safety Report of the (Overseas Security Advisory Council) of the US Consulate in Johannesburg. Click here to access this Report of the OSAC 2015
• The Victim of Crimes Survey offers good insights into the perception of crime and the statistical data. You will find the latest VOC survey 2013/4 here.
Remember to keep informed to stay safe!