The worst areas for crime in South Africa

 ·6 Sep 2023

Although crime ticked downward in South Africa in the first quarter of 2023, the numbers still remain alarmingly high, with several neighbourhoods highlighted as being more dangerous than others.

The latest South African Polic Service (SAPS) crime stats from April to June 2023 show a positive turn for many of South Africa’s more problematic crime categories.

Violent crime like murder is tracking lower in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, with 6,228 murders recorded compared with 6,424 murders in the previous period.

Sexual offences are also down 2%, while carjacking has also eased, down 6.4% year-on-year.

However, while these crime categories are not as bad as they were in Q1 2022/23, the numbers are still alarmingly high. 6,228 murders over a period of three months is a staggeringly high number, averaging 68 murders a day in the country.

Other violent crimes – such as attempted murder, common assault, and assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm – also tracked higher over the period, leading to the contact crimes category jumping by 4.8%

More positively, the contact-related and property-related crimes categories tracked lower over the quarter, with South Africa seeing a significant drop in robberies at non-residential premises and burglaries at homes.

Worst neighbourhoods in South Africa

Included in the SAPS report are the top 30 areas across South Africa that reported crimes under the 17 Community-Reported Serious Crimes, highlighting the most dangerous areas regarding four main categories of crimes in the country – Contact Crimes, Contact Related Crimes, Property Related Crimes and Other Serious Crimes.

These categories include sub-category crimes such as murder and attempted murder, assault and theft, robbery aggravating circumstances, carjacking, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, and all types of sexual offences.

According to the data, 371,368 of these types of crimes were reported between April and June 2023. This is a year-on-year increase of 2.2% and works out to roughly 4,126 being committed per day in South Africa.

Provincially, most of these crimes were committed in Gauteng (27.9%), followed by the Western Cape (19.1%) and Kwa-Zulu Natal (15.7%) – which is unsurprising given the population distribution of these three provinces. However, KZN saw the biggest YoY increase of 4.7%, followed by Gauteng (4%) and Mpumalanga (3.8%).

Interestingly, when looking at the list of the areas that recorded the highest number of these crimes, Cape Town’s CBD is on top as the most dangerous area in South Africa over the first quarter of 2023.

Cape Town CBD also ranked in the top 10 for property-related crimes (1st), other serious crimes (1st), theft out of or from motor vehicle (1st), robbery (2nd), and commercial crime (5th).

This is then followed by the Johannesburg and Durban CBDs in second and third, respectively.

In terms of prominent crimes in these areas, Joburg CBD ranked high in contact crimes (1st), robbery aggravating circumstances (1st), home break-ins and carjacking (6th), kidnapping (8th), attempted murder (9th), sexual assault (9th), and murder (11th).

Durban CBD ranked in common robbery (1st), contact crimes (3rd), shoplifting (3rd), robbery aggravating circumstances (4th), property-related crime (4th), driving under the influence (5th), drug-related crimes (6th), and other serious crimes (9th).

Interestingly, while Roodepoort ranked as the seventh most dangerous area – with 1,866 reported serious crimes – it recorded a massive increase in cases, rocketing up by 44.7% over the past year.

Between April and June 2023, Roodepoort ranked highly in theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle (2nd), assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (4th), home break-ins (8th), property-related crime (8th), and contract crimes (12th).

The top 10 most dangerous neighbourhoods, the number of serious crimes committed over Q1 2023, and the number of these crimes committed per day are shown in the table below.

RankAreaProvinceNo. of crimes reportedNo. per day
1Cape Town CBDWestern Cape2,76530.7
2Joburg CBDGauteng2,12023.5
3Durban CBDKZN2,10423.3
4Mitchells PlainWestern Cape2,04022.6
6Park RoadFree State 1,88120.9
8MfuleniWestern Cape1,77519.7

Read: South Africans can travel to these countries visa-free – the cost of food, drinks and transport compared

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter