US issues SA crime warning

2013-06-19 09:11

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Johannesburg - A warning issued to tourists by the United States says Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town are "critical crime threat spots", The New Age reported on Wednesday.

The warning was released in a document by the US state department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

It states: "Violent and confrontational crime is a major concern [in South Africa]. Such crimes include home invasion robberies, burglaries, car-jackings, street muggings, smash-and-grabs, organised attacks on commercial and retail centres, bombings of ATM's, as well as attacks on cash-in-transit vehicles and personnel."

'Standard practice'

The report warns visitors that South African criminals do not hesitate to use lethal weapons and that townships should be avoided.

"Foreigners are not specifically targeted, but several have been the victims of rape," the report said, according to the newspaper.

US Embassy spokesperson Jack Hillmeyer said safety and security reports were standard practice in all countries where the US foreign affairs department provided consular services to its citizens, and were not limited to South Africa.

"The majority of US citizens who travel to South Africa generally make it back without incident," he told the publication.

US president Barack Obama is due to visit Pretoria and Cape Town at the end of June.

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