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 October 2017 and the latest Victim of Crime surveys from September 2017. Further we will share some insights and safety tips below.
Crime in South Africa: 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 terror alerts, xenophobic outbreaks and violent protest actions as well as pre-planned or opportunity crime along the cities' major highways, many expats and foreigners are wondering about the crime situation and their safety in South Africa. Here we will share our insights.
The recurring news flashes about public unrest in Hout Bay and the Helderberg area as well as the shocking reports about the many rape and murder incidents are unsettling and intimidating. When moving to South Africa, we highly recommend 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. Also make sure, that you get in-depth information about an area unknown to you, check the various Facebook forums or contact the local police station for advice, if you are not certain that the area you plan to visit, work in or travel through is safe.
Crime and violence affect everybody like everywhere else in the world. In South Africa, most crimes reported happens in poorer areas, but also the residents in more affluent suburbs are affected by violence and crime. In the city center, know which parts to best avoid, especially after dark. However, this advice would certainly apply to metropolitan cities worldwide. However, especially in the local townships, there are certain areas which are absolute no-go areas, which even in emergencies can only be accessed with protection and also most other parts which are best avoided, if you are not accompanied by a local guide and are introduced to the area.
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 on 24 October 2017 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 state are stated below.
According to the 2016/2017 crime statistics, all community reported crime in South Africa has decreased:
However, one must note: Only reported crime is taken into the official data, the real crime in South Africa 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.
However it is to note that some subcategories show significant increases - often also dependent on the various provinces. We will give here some detail:
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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 from the 2017 survey:
Further these points were not elaborated in the most recent crime statistics, but were mentioned in the 2015 crime statistics and we trust the answers still reveal relevant insights, so we add these here as well:
Increasingly, carjackings are an occurence in all provinces. 16,717 carjackings were reported in the Crime Statistics 2017 (compared to 11,000 carjackings reported in 2015!). The provinces with the most occurrences of the nine provinces are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
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. Read through the 'Be Alert!' Advice by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to stay safe here
It is highly recommended, to take some basic safety precautions, when moving to and living in South Africa. There are simple precautions which you should take for not becoming a victim of crime in South Africa.
Read our safety tips for Cape Town
Remember to keep informed to stay safe!