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Crime: Capetown Vs. Johannesburg

When comparing in Capetown and Johannesburg, there are a number of factors to consider. Fear is the controlling emotion in Johannesburg yet Capetown is infamous for being the murder capital of South Africa.

Surveys suggest that despite Capetown having the highest murder rates in the country, or Mangaung that is infamous for its abnormally high recorded sexually assaults, the citizens of Johannesburg remain the most fearful.

Johannesburg has always held the reputation for being a ‘gangster’s paradise’ within South Africa but it has been suggested that this is an exaggerated fact.  When referring to crime statistics from the last decade, researched and complied by Statistics SA, the figures tell another story all together.

Whilst it’s true that Johannesburg is not completely safe for citizens or tourists alike, there are a selection of crimes that are much more likely to witness if you were to live or visit any of the other eight South African regions.

 

Crime and Civil Unrest Warnings For South Africa

In a report issued in 2016, from The State of Urban Safety in South Africa, it states information about all nine of the South African metros. The staggering results showed that;

 

  • Capetown has the highest murder rate than any other South African metro
  • Tshwane is home to the highest rate of recorded assaults with intent to do grievous bodily harm
  • Nelson Mandela Bay was recorded for having the highest rate out of any South African metro for non-residential robberies
  • Mangaung has the highest rate for recorded sexual assaults
  • Johannesburg holds the title for the highest rates of recorded domestic robberies, vehicle thefts and hijackings.

Despite these titles, when compared to the data that was collected in 2005-2006 and 2014-2015, the level of fear in South African metros is not parallel to the actual level of danger.

To put things into perspective, the murder rates in Gauteng’s three main metros; Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, actually sit below the national average which itself currently sits at 33 murders per 100,000 people.  Capetown’s murder rate sits at a staggering 65 murders per 100,000 people.

On the other hand, if there was such a thing as a fear report created for South Africa, citizens of Johannesburg would rank tenfold the rank of similar coastal metros.

Residents of Johannesburg are in particularly afraid of allowing their children to walk to school or allowing them to play in the streets. It is also not uncommon to see open spaces or public transport services near empty due to fear of using them.

In this imaginary fear index, citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City metros would be next on the list and are both extremely vigilant of using open, recreational spaces in fear of being a victim to crime.

Despite also holding the utmost fear of using open public spaces, residents of Cape Town are not as concerned about attacks that take place on public transport services, walking to and from local shops and places of work and in most places, allow their children to play in the streets and walk to and from school.

 

Regular Crime Statistics Now Released Quarterly

In 2016, the SA Cities Network began to release detailed crime statistics four times a year. In these reports, they measured the yearly number of incidents that occurred in each metro, detailing what kind of crime took place per 100,000 in a designated area. By using this research technique, SA Cities Network was able to compared crime statistics accurately across varying sized areas and districts.

In the document, it stated;

‘The level of crime experienced by inhabitants of a space does not necessarily determine how they will perceive and feel about crime.’

The data collected in the report shows information for Buffalo City, Ekurhuleni, Thekwini and Msunduzi. The reports conclude that these metros are far from safe.

Located in the Eastern Cape, Buffalo City ranked second when referring to sexual related incidences, third in domestic burglaries ad is renowned for having the second-worst police detection rate in the entire country.

Surprisingly, Cape Town has the best police detection rate.

Criminology experts state that Cape Town houses far more superior crime detection rates due to the effectiveness of the provincial police management system.

The Network executive manager, Geci Karuri-Sebina stated that crime in general has a huge effect on urban development and costs the economy a lot of money to resolve.

She went on to say;

‘In political terms in South Africa, there has been an aversion to engaging on urban crime and safety, especially in terms of perception. It’s often seen as a white middle-class problem, whereas crime poor back families far more.’

She continued to say that the analysis of the data was conducted so they could gain a greater understanding of how to use intelligence to deal with certain crimes with the aim to develop efficient urban safety strategies.

She concluded by saying that this entire process was not just referring to policing. The aim of the organization was to solve and reduce crime through well organized urban planning, especially in regards to housing and public transport services.

 

A senior researcher at UCT’s centre for criminology, Simon Howell, stated that it was clear that in neighbourhoods that are considered ‘well off’, the fear towards crime does not justify the existence of crime in that area, especially when compared to poverty stricken areas and communities whose fears and considerable lower when compared to the chance that residents there will actually fall victim to a crime.

 

He continued by saying;

‘The report is an attempt to understand what is going on. If we don’t know what type of crimes are being committed, by whom, where and what is effective in terms of policing, you cannot structure your policing processes to address crime strategically.

He concluded by exclaiming that good, solid police detection rates fall on the shoulders of policing leaders and managers.

Rudolph Zinn, a Unisa Criminologist spoke about the report, stating that it provided a great overview of crime patterns and crime related trends. It concluded by stating that the report has and will help determine what kind of police are needed and how and where to locate these forces.