JHB, Durbs sex crime capitals

2013-03-09 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s sex crime danger zones include the Johannesburg and Durban inner cities — but also small, rural towns, a Media24 Investigations analysis of official crime statistics reveals.

The investigation to locate the most dangerous places in South Africa for women followed national outrage after the alleged gang rape and murder of Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp in the Western Cape last month.

Using the latest available crime statistics, new population estimates for each policing area calculated by independent consultants, Afriscope, and mapping software, sex crime rates were calculated per 10 000 population for more than 1 100 policing precincts in the country.

Crime rates give an idea of the risk of someone becoming a victim of a crime.

Police precincts with populations of less than 3 000 were ignored to avoid a distorted result.

The figures show that Johannesburg Central is the worst with 204 sex crimes for every 10 000 population, and Durban Central is next with 103 sex crimes per 10 000.

Citrusdal in the Western Cape is third nationally with 84 sex crimes per 10 000, with Polokwane at 74 coming in at fourth.

(See graphic for full details).

Women and children in Citrusdal and Rawsonville (fifth worst) are almost four times more likely to be victims of a sex crime than well-known rape areas like Mitchell’s Plain, according to these figures.

In Mitchell’s Plain, there were a staggering 471 sex crimes in police figures, but with a population of 195 000 that is a rate of 24 per 10 000.

There are 49 different types of sex crimes in the “total sex crime” figures that police release results for annually.

However, the police have indicated that more than three quarters of all sex crimes are rape — and that women and children together comprise nearly 90% of all victims.

Lizette Lancaster, of the Institute for Security Studies’ Crime and Justice Information and Analysis Hub, said inner cities were high-risk areas for sexual crime.

“We know that the socio-economic conditions in these areas are harsh, with high density and a lack of basic services. Often rooms are crowded and children left unattended by parents desperate to find work.”

She said such areas also lent themselves to transactional sex, “as women [and children] are desperate for basics such as food”.

Lisa Vetten, analyst with the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, said the data raised “plenty of questions”.

“Firstly, what you’re measuring is the reporting rate, which complicates interpreting these figures. We don’t know whether high rates reflect a high incidence of rape or better rates of reporting,” she said.

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