The worst crime hot spots in South Africa

Data compiled by Crime Stats SA, an online database run by Meerkat Data Management, shows which precincts in South Africa are the hardest hit by crime.

Shockingly, the group notes that 5,900 crimes are reported to the South African Police Services every day.

Recent data by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) showed that, when it comes to societal safety and security, South Africa ranks as the 15th worst country in the world, and the 8th most violent with a murder rate of 31 per 100,000 people.

The IEP singled out South Africa as being in conflict internally – driven by poverty,  inequality, and the slow pace of reform by government, which, in turn, fuels crime, violent strike action and political confrontation.

Read: South Africa is one of the most violent and unsafe countries in the world

The data by Crime Stats – based on official SAPS data – shows that, while the country still has high levels of crime, it is improving.

Over the last decade, total reported crimes have declined in SA, from 2.7 million reports in 2004, to just over 2.2 million in 2014.

While Gauteng as whole experienced the most crime in 2014 (647,409), the two worst areas are located in the Western Cape, namely Mitchells Plain (25,575 cases) and Cape Town Central (18,369 cases).

Gauteng’s worst are is Joburg central (14,791 cases), followed by Honeydew (13,561 cases) and Pretoria Central (12,682 cases).

Note that the crime numbers below are expressed as raw data, and are not proportional as a percentage of the population.

Crime categories

Murder

According to reported data, there were 16,194 reported murder cases in 2014, most of which were in KwaZulu Natal (3,561 cases), though Nyaga in the Western Cape was the worst precinct.

# Precinct Province No. of crimes
1 Nyanga Western Cape 305
2 Inanda KwaZulu Natal 164
3 Harare Western Cape 164
4 Mitchells Plain Western Cape 158
5 Gugulethu Western Cape 150
6 Khayelitsha Western Cape 146
7 Delft Western Cape 144
8 Mthatha Eastern Cape 139
9 Umlazi KwaZulu Natal 133
10 Kwa Mashu E KwaZulu Natal 128

Sexual crimes

There were 62,267 reported sexual crime cases in 2014, most of which were again in KwaZulu Natal (11,661 cases). Again the worst precinct wasn’t in that province, however, rather falling in Limpopo.

# Precinct Province No. of crimes
1 Tzaneen Limpopo 765
2 Durban Central Kwazulu Natal 672
3 Port Shepstone Kwazulu Natal 461
4 Mokopane Limpopo 452
5 Umbilo Kwazulu Natal 383
6 Thohoyandou Limpopo 369
7 Inanda Kwazulu Natal 353
8 Umlazi Kwazulu Natal 340
9 Nyanga Western Cape 330
10 Bloemspruit Free State 327

Assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm

Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm – or assault with the intent to wound or injure – is most prolific in Gauteng, where 41,326 of a total of 182,065 cases were opened.

# Precinct Province No. of crimes
1 Umlazi Kwazulu Natal 1 247
2 Temba Gauteng 1 204
3 Inanda Kwazulu Natal 1 079
4 Hillbrow Gauteng 1 030
5 Moroka Gauteng 946
6 Alexandra Gauteng 928
7 Nyanga Western Cape 920
8 Rietgat Gauteng 852
9 Ikageng North West 831
10 Johannesburg Central Gauteng 813

Break-ins at residential homes

Burglary at residential homes are again most prolific in Gauteng, with 67,913 cases opened in Gauteng. There were a total of 259,424 reported break-ins in the year, with most happening in Park Road precinct in the Free State.

# Precinct Province No. of crimes
1 Park Road Free State 1 895
2 Honeydew Gauteng 1 756
3 Witbank Mpumalanga 1 546
4 Roodepoort Gauteng 1 459
5 Mitchells Plain Western Cape 1 421
6 Rustenburg North West 1 272
7 Kraaifontein Western Cape 1 247
8 Krugersdorp Gauteng 1 235
9 Table View Western Cape 1 235
10 Akasia Gauteng 1 221

Drug-related crime

The Western Cape is known to have a serious problem with drugs and drug-related crime, so it comes as no surprise that it’s the province with the highest number of cases (84,337). A total of 258,472 cases were opened, nationally, in 2014, with Mitchells Plain being the worst off by a large margin.

# Precinct Province No. of crimes
1 Mitchells Plain Western Cape 6 044
2 Manenburg Western Cape 3 766
3 Eldorado Park Gauteng 3 125
4 Delft Western Cape 2 954
5 Bishop Lavis Western Cape 2 578
6 Durban Central KwaZulu Natal 2 528
7 Kraaifontein Western Cape 2 516
8 Cape Town Central Western Cape 2 150
9 Temba Gauteng 2 104
10 Phoenix KwaZulu Natal 2 043

Crime stats in context

The Crime Stats data is based on reported figures from the SAPS.

According to Africacheck.org, because of the time periods between reporting the data and the financial year it covers, SAPS crime data is often at least 6 months out of date.

The data for 2014’s stats covers April 2013 to March 2014.

“No information is provided about the exact location of reported crimes within each precinct and it should be noted that many police stations cover large and socio-economically diverse areas,” the group noted.

The group does say the data can be used to create an indication of frequency of crime – though this should not be taken out of context of population sizes in the area.

Africacheck also points out that uncertainty hovers over crime data as many crimes go unreported, the SAPS data is unaudited, and there is widespread mistrust of the SAPS itself.

For a full break-down of how to read crime data, read Africacheck’s guide to crime statistics online.

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The worst crime hot spots in South Africa