South Africa’s most violent city

Despite its reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa, Johannesburg is not the most violent, new research shows.

According to a report released by the Mexican research group Seguridad, Justicia y Paz (Security, Justice and Peace), the top ‘honour’ of the title of most violent city in South Africa in 2013 belongs to Cape Town.

The report lists the 50 most violent cities in the world, listed by the amount of murders per 100,000 people.

With 51 murders per 100,000 people, Cape Town ranks as the most violent city in the country for its 3.7 million residents – and the 20th most violent in the world.

Cape Town has become increasingly more violent over the years, climbing the ranking each year. This is in contrast to the other South African cities listed, which have slipped on the list.

Most violent cities in South Africa

City 2012 2013 2014
Cape Town 34 27 20
Nelson Mandela Bay 41 38 41
Durban 49 46 48
Johannesburg 50

Durban and Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) are also more dangerous than Johannesburg, which dropped off of the rankings in the 2013 report (covering 2012).

With 35.7 murders per 100,000 people, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) is the second most violent city in South Africa for its 1.1 million residents, and the 41st most violent in the world.

Durban has 32.4 murders per 100,000 people, in a population of 3.4 million citizens, making it the 3rd most violent city in SA, and 48th overall.

Most violent cities in the world

San Pedro Sula of Honduras was listed by the firm as the most violent city in the world, for the third time in a row, with over 187 murders per 100,000 people.

Caracas, Venezuela (2nd) and Acapulco, Mexico (3rd) were the only other two cities to see triple-digit murders per 100,000 people, with 134 and 112, respectively.

The top 20 most dangeorus cities in the world are populated almost entirely of South and Central American cities – with Cape Town being the only exception as the highest-ranked non-South American city.

Detroit, with 47 murders per 100,000 people, is the highest ranked US city (24th) followed by New Orleans (26th) and Baltimore (36th).

The rankings only consider cities with populations over 300,000, where murder statistics are made available.

According to the firm, research into violent crime is faced with many obstacles – most notably, a lack of transparency and accountability of governments in several countries, as well as the falsification of figures, specifically in Mexico and Venezuela.

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