12 of the worst areas for home break-ins and robberies in South Africa

 ·21 Nov 2023

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has published the latest crime statistics for the second quarter of 2023/24, which covers July to September 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 5.9% year-on-year. However, compared to the first quarter of 2023, burglaries at residential premises increased by 3.6%. Robberies at houses were up by almost 4%.

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 38,151 cases of home burglaries between July and September 2023 – roughly 424 incidents a day. Meanwhile, the SAPS recorded 6,045 house robberies over the same period – or 67 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, almost every province in South Africa is represented in the ‘top 12 worst areas’ list, and it is Mankweng in Limpopo which has drawn the most cases of break-ins, followed by Cambridge in Eastern Cape and Plessislaer in KZN.

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

#PrecinctProvinceNo. of break-ins
2CambridgeEastern Cape210
4KraaifonteinWestern Cape202
6MmabathoNorth West179
9Free StateFree State168
10DelftWestern Cape164
11RustenburgNorth West162
12TembaGauteng 160

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 165,909 cases reported between July and September 2023 – increasing by 2.1% compared to the same period in 2022, and a notable 10.8% from the first quarter (149,802).

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 1.8% year-on-year, robbery at residential premises increased by 3.8% – with 6,045 reported over the second quarter of 2023/24.

Concerningly, This is also an increase of 7.4% compared to the first quarter of this year, which recorded 5,631 incidences of robbery at residential premises.

As with burglaries, Gauteng has the highest number of home robberies (37.3%). However, this is followed by KZN (22.7%), and its areas take up half of the places in the ‘top 12 worst areas’ list. Tembisa in Gauteng ranks as the worst area for home robberies.

This is followed by two KZN precincts – Plessislaer in second place and Inanda in third.

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

#PrecinctProvinceNo. of aggravated robberies

Read: The worst areas for hijacking in South Africa – and the cars being targetted

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