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

 ·25 Feb 2024

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has published the latest crime statistics for the third quarter of 2023/24, which covers October to December 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 4.4% year-on-year. However, compared to the second quarter of 2023, burglaries at residential premises increased by 6.8%.

Although robberies with aggravated circumstances at houses increased by only 1.7% year-on-year, they were up by almost 5.2% from the second quarter.

This shows an increasing trend for both break-ins and robberies in South Africa.

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 40,751 cases of home burglaries between October to December 2023 – roughly 453 incidents a day. Meanwhile, the SAPS recorded 6,360 house robberies over the same period – or 71 every day.

Burglary at a residential premises

Nationally, Gauteng accounts for most of the burglaries across the nine provinces, with just under a quarter (22.3%) 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 (3.8%).

However, almost every province in South Africa is represented in the ‘top 11 worst areas’ list, and it is Plessislaer in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) which has drawn the most cases of break-ins, followed by another KZN suburb (Mountain Rise) in second and Cambridge in the Eastern Cape is in third.

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

#PrecinctProvinceNo. of break-ins
1Plessislaer KZN228
2Mountain Rise KZN202
3CambridgeEastern Cape200
4Wierdabrug Gauteng195
5Margate KZN193
6Inanda KZN193
7Mmabatho North West187
8Witbank Mpumalanga187
9Mankweng Limpopo187
10Kwadukuza KZN186

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 190,973 cases reported between October and December 2023 – increasing by 3.8% compared to the same period in 2022, and a notable 15.1% from the previous quarter (165,909).

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 these trio crimes increased by 1.8% year-on-year, and robbery at residential premises increased by 1.7% – with 6,360 reported over the third quarter of 2023/24.

Concerningly, this is also an increase of 5.2% compared to the second quarter of this year, which recorded 6,045 incidences of robbery at residential premises.

As with burglaries, Gauteng has the highest number of home robberies (35%). However, this is followed by KZN (23.2%), and its areas take up half of the places in the ‘top 11 worst areas’ list, with Plessislaer in KZN ranking again as the worst area.

This is followed by Inanda (also in KZN) 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
1Plessislaer KZN91
10New BrightonEastern Cape52

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

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