Cape Town has seen a spike in its murder rate, giving the city the dishonour of climbing a global ranking of the world’s most violent cities.
Listed as the most violent city in South Africa, Cape Town now ranks 11th on a list compiled by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice – this is after dropping to 15th on the list in 2017.
The report lists the 50 most violent cities by the number of murders per 100,000 people, only considering cities with populations exceeding 300,000, where murder statistics are made available.
As with previous years, the majority of the world’s most violent cities are in the Americas, particularly Mexico and South America. South Africa has the dubious honour of being the only non-American country listed.
In the 2018 list, Cape Town ranked 11th with a murder rate of 66.4 per 100,000 people – far worse than the 62.3 per 100,000 people in 2017. In 2018, Cape Town had a population of 4,322,031 people and 2,868 homicides.
In South Africa, two other cities are listed outside of Cape Town: Durban, and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Nelson Mandela Bay saw its murder rate worsen from 37.5 per 100,000 in 2017, to 39.2 per 100,000 in 2018, making it again the second most violent city in the country. It ranks 45th, globally.
In 2018, Nelson Mandela Bay had a population of 1,220,616 people and 478 homicides.
Durban’s murder rate also increased marginally, from 38.1 per 100,000 in 2017, to 38.5 per 100,000 in 2018 – however, its position on the overall list improved, from 44th in 2017, to 47th in 2018.
In 2018, Durban had a population of 4,055,969 population and 1,562 homicides.
Despite its reputation for high levels of crime, Johannesburg’s murder rate was not high enough to be ranked among the top 50. Joburg was last featured in the ranking in 2015, when it was ranked 47th.
South Africa’s murder rate
In 2018, the South African Police Service published crime stats for 2017/18, revealing an unsettling increase in the number of murders taking place in South Africa over the period.
According to the SAPS, there were 20,336 murders in South Africa between April 2017 and March 2018 – a 7% increase from the previous year.
This puts the country’s murder rate at close to 36 people per 100,000 population – with police minister Bheki Cele noting that 57 people are being murdered each day.
A further breakdown of the data showed that murders of women and children have also increased, accounting for just under 20% of all murders.
Seven of the 10 worst precincts in the country were in the Western Cape.
Most violent cities in South Africa (murder rate)
|Nelson Mandela Bay||35.7||34.9||35.8||39.2||37.5||39.2|
Most violent cities in South Africa (ranking)
|Nelson Mandela Bay||41st||35th||42nd||43rd||46th||45th|
Of the 50 cities in the ranking, 17 are located in Brazil (down from 19 in 2016), 12 in Mexico (up from 8), 5 in Venezuela (down from 7), 4 in the United States, 3 in Colombia (down from 4), 3 in South Africa, and 2 in Honduras, and 1 each in El Salvador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
The overwhelming majority of the 50 most violent cities in the world are in Latin America (42 cities).
These are world’s most violent cities, including South Africa’s cities:
|#||City||Country||Homicides||Population||Rate per 100,000|
|1||Tijuana||Mexico||2 640||1 909 424||138.26|
|3||Caracas||Venzuela||2 980||2 980 492||99.98|
|5||Juarez||Mexico||1 251||1 462 133||85.56|
|8||Natal||Brazil||1 185||1 587 055||74.67|
|9||Fortaleza||Brazil||2 724||3 939 460||69.15|
|10||Ciudad Bolívar||Venezuela||264||382 095||69.09|
|11||Cape Town||South Africa||2 868||4 322 031||66.36|
|45||Nelson Mandela Bay||South Africa||478||1 220 616||39.16|
|47||Durban||South Africa||1 562||4 055 969||38.51|