South Africa’s got a bad rap when it comes to crimes such as murder, rape, theft, drunken driving, racketeering, hijacking, smash-and-grab attacks, bank robbery, cash-in-transit heists, taxi violence, gang violence, looting, kidnapping, fraud, extortion, home invasion, pickpocketing, burglary, arson, damage to public property and rampant racism.
Often, deservedly so, but you’ve really got to know which areas to stay away from and which are less likely to kill you.
Even the UK government, as part of its foreign advisory services, provides its citizens who are planning to visit SA with extensive safety and security advice. This includes warnings about terror activities, an increase in kidnappings, an outbreak of listeriosis, bomb threats made against shopping malls, ongoing shoot-outs between Uber and Taxi drivers, water scarcity and hazardous road travel.
Of course, for us living in South Africa, acutely aware of the fact that we could die at any given moment, we are more or less up-to-speed on which areas to avoid.
In case you still thought Hillbrow was a fun place to go party, though, CrimeStatsSA has taken the latest, most horrific SAPS crime stats for 2018 and broken them down by province, and then area, to show you which areas across all provinces had the highest rate of reported crimes between April 2017 and March 2018.
There are approximately 1140 police stations in our country.
In SA, a crime has to be reported at the police station that is closest to where that crime took place. If you get shanked in the gut with a bicycle spoke by a TIK addict in Kuilsrivier, for instance, you wouldn’t head all the way to Cape Town Central to report the crime. You have to report it in the specific area, which allows the SAPS to gain some insight into the level of crime in the general region.
Of course, you may find that certain station stats encompass a much larger area than where the station is located. This is because a station in a very remote area, for example, would be the only station available to several surrounding neighbourhoods or small towns.
With all that in mind, it’s no big surprise to find that Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal are the three provinces worst-affected by crime. Crime levels are often tied to population numbers, and the most populous cities are the biggest crime hotspots, all across the country. Particularly the city centres.
Johannesburg. Cape Town. Durban.
On a final note, while Gauteng certainly has the highest overall number of crimes, it is generally in the Western Cape where we find the worst precincts. Now, let’s take it province by province, ranked from worst to least.
A total of 620 445 crimes were reported in Gauteng in 2018, with Johannesburg Central contributing to 4.3% of all crimes with 26 861 cases reported. Honeydew, well-known to be a hijacking hotspot, ranked second with 23 922.
The ten worst precincts, listed below, accounted for 30.4% of all crime in the province.
As mentioned earlier, the Western Cape’s Cape Town Central and Mitchells Plain precincts saw far more crime reported than Gauteng’s counterparts, with 34 146 and 28 676 cases reported, respectively.
In total, though, the Western Cape saw far fewer crimes reported – 492 956 – with the ten worst precincts below accounting for 41.2% of all crime in the province.
According to CrimeStatsSA, KZN saw 351 207 crimes reported during the period. The worst area was Durban Central, accounting for a staggering 7.4% of all crime in the entire province.
The worst ten, listed below, accounted for 44.6% of all total crime in the province.
East London was revealed to be the area hit worst by crime in the Eastern Cape, accounting for 6.8% of the 203 977 crimes reported.
The worst ten precincts covered 46% of all crime in the province.
Here it begins to get interesting, in which provinces with fewer amounts of reported crime, provinces less populated, find that the worst ten areas account for larger percentages of the provincial total.
The worst ten areas in Limpopo, for instance, account for 63.4% of the total 129 578 cases reported. Seshego, the worst precinct, dealt with 9.6% of the province’s crime.
According to CrimeStatsSA, there were 124 859 crimes reported in Mpumalanga in 2018. The worst ten precincts, from Witbank to Standerton, accounted for 73.8% of all provincial crime
The Rustenburg precinct accounted for 15.7% of the 119 523 crimes reported in the North West Province. The ten worst precincts contributed to 78.5% of all crime in the province.
The Free State recorded 112 177 crimes, with the ten worst areas accounting for 73.6%. The worst precinct was Park Road, which contributed 18.2% to the total.
Cape Town Central, alone, was just 15 424 cases shy of equalling the total number of reported crimes in the Northern Cape.
The sparsely populated Northern Cape, or, the Most Peaceful Place in the World, had the least amount of reported crimes in 2018 – 49 570 – spread over just a handful of areas. Kimberley, the most populated city in the province, accounted for 30% of the total.