The 10 worst areas in South Africa for home break-ins and robberies

 ·22 Aug 2023

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has published the latest crime statistics for the first quarter of 2023/24, which covers April to June 2023 – showing that while burglaries have declined over the past year, residential robberies with aggravated circumstances have increased in South Africa.

According to the SAPS’ data, burglaries at residential premises decreased by 7.1% year-on-year, while robberies at houses were up by almost 5%.

While similar in nature (criminal trespassing and theft), burglaries and robberies are differentiated by the presence of the victim.

Burglaries occur when a thief enters a home intending to steal while the victim is absent, while robberies happen when the victim is present and threatened during the theft.

Despite decreasing year-on-year, burglaries still far outstrip robberies in South Africa in number, and – after drug-related crime and assault – is the biggest crime subcategory in the country.

Data captured at police stations across the country recorded 36,808 cases of home burglaries between April and June 2023 – roughly 409 incidents a day. Meanwhile, the SAPS recorded 5,631 house robberies over the same period – or 63 every day.

Burglary at a residential premises

Nationally, Gauteng accounts for most of the burglaries across the nine provinces, with just under a quarter (21.9%) of home burglaries in South Africa taking place in the province. This is unsurprising as it is the most populous province in South Africa and thus has a proportional amount of crime.

This is also seen with the Northern Cape, the most scarcely populated province in the country, and thus has the lowest number of reported burglaries (3.7%).

However, over half the number of provinces are represented in the ‘top 10 worst areas’ list, and it is Mankweng in Limpopo which has drawn the most cases of break-ins, followed by Plessislaer in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) and Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng.

The top 10 worst areas for break-ins are given in the table below.

#PrecinctProvinceNo. of break-ins
4CambridgeEastern Cape172
5KraaifonteinWestern Cape169
7DelftWestern Cape166

Robbery at a residential premises

According to the SAPS report, contact crimes, including common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances, among other things, made up the biggest crime category, with 149,802 cases reported between April and June 2023 – increasing by 4.8% compared to the same period in 2022.

This is of grave concern, as contact crime refers to crimes in which the victims are the targets of violence or instances where the victims are in the vicinity of property that criminals target and are subjected to the use of/or threats of violence by perpetrators, said the SAPS.

A subcategory of contact crimes is robbery with aggravating circumstances, which includes robbery at residential premises, listed under ‘Trio crimes’ – including carjacking and robbery at non-residential premises.

The report showed that while these trio crimes decreased by 5.2% year-on-year, robbery at residential premises increased by 4.9% – with 5,631 incidences reported over the first quarter of 2023/24.

As with burglaries, Gauteng has the highest number of home robberies (36.5%). However, this is followed by KZN (25%), and its areas take up half of the places in the ‘top 10 worst areas’ list. Plessislaer ranks as the worst area for home robberies.

This is followed by another KZN precinct (Inanda) in second place and Tembisa in Gauteng in third.

The top 10 worst areas for home robberies are given in the table below.

#PrecinctProvinceNo. of aggravated robberies
8DelftWestern Cape48

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