Cape Town has highest murder, robbery rates in new safety report - where does your city rank?

Cape Town ''has the highest rates of murder, robbery and property-related crimes'' while Tshwane ''has the lowest rates of murder, assault and sexual offences'' of all the nine cities analysed in South African Cities Network's State of Urban Safety in South Africa Report 2018/19.

According to the report, 63% of the country now lives in cities. These spaces are also where crime and violence are most concentrated. The drivers of crime and violence in cities are the ''social, economic, spatial and cultural risk factors that result from extreme poverty and inequality'' the report states.

In addition to 14 other subjective and social indicators, the report analyses national crime statistics released by SAPS according to seven objective indicators. From the murder rate to the rate of robbery, the report analyses the state of crime and violence in nine of South Africa's major cities.

All numbers quoted are incidents recorded per 100 000. The report cautions that readers should be aware that the difference in recorded crime rates is ''a product of real differences in crime prevalence, as well as differences in crime reporting and recording behaviour on the part of victims and the police.''

Here's what the report says about these nine major cities in South Africa:

  • City of Johannesburg: Joburg's crime rates are low to moderate, except for assault (295) and especially robbery (435). It has the second-lowest recorded rate of murder (31) and levels of non-violent property-related (941) crime have declined significantly so that the city ranks second best. The City of Johannesburg has the highest level of police activity (320) targeting people driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • City of Cape Town: According to the report ''the City of Cape Town has very high rates of almost all crime types''. It has the highest recorded rates of the nine cities for murder (69), robbery (484), and non-violent property-related crimes (1475). For this year, the city moved into third place for sexual offences (98). The city’s murder rate (69) has increased by 60% since 2009/10 and by 13% in the last year alone, which is more than twice the increase in any of the other eight cities.

  • eThekwini: eThekwini has the second-lowest rates of assault (235) and third lowest rates of non-violent property-related crime (961). The city has overtaken Buffalo City to rank third highest of the nine cities in murder rates.

  • Ekurhuleni: Ekurhuleni continues to show relatively low recorded rates of most crime types. It has the lowest rates of non-violent property-related crimes (856), second-lowest rates of sexual offences (66) and third-lowest rates of both murder (32) and robbery (296).

  • City of Tshwane: has relatively low recorded rates of interpersonal violent crimes, with the lowest rates of murder, assault and sexual offences of all nine cities – its murder rate is almost half that in neighbouring Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. However, non-violent property-related crimes are slightly higher than neighbouring Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, while robbery rates are far lower than in Johannesburg and slightly higher than in Ekurhuleni.

  • Nelson Mandela Bay: Despite lower levels of non-violent property-related crimes (1036), Nelson Mandela Bay has the second-highest murder rate (54), the third-highest robbery rate (440) of all nine cities. This suggests that its ''middling'' recorded rates of assault (295) may be due to low levels of reporting of these crimes.

  • Mangaung: Mangaung’s ''relative crime profile is strongly dominated by violent interpersonal crimes''. Ranked second only to Buffalo City in recorded rates of both assault (402) and sexual offences (130). However, it records the lowest rate of robbery (232) among the nine cities. Unlike most of the cities, its murder rate (39) has not changed significantly over the last 10 years.

  • Buffalo City:  Buffalo City has high levels of violent interpersonal crimes, ranking worst among the cities in recorded rates of both assault (507) and sexual offences (131. Compared to the other cities, Buffalo City has shown the longest and most sustained decrease in its murder rate (43): down 40% over the last 10 years and 9% in the last year. However, aggravated robbery has increased, by 38% over the last 10 years and 4% in the last year.

  • Msunduzi: Msunduzi displays ''middling to low recorded rates of most crime types''. It has the second-to-lowest rates of robbery (253) and fairly low rates of non-violent property-related crimes (985). The city's trend in aggravated robbery has been ''unsteady but slightly upwards'', increasing by 22% over the last 10 years and by 10% in the last year – the largest increase among the cities.

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