Chances of being killed in Cape Town, PE are high as murder rate in SA urban areas rises

The murder rate in South African urban areas has risen.
The murder rate in South African urban areas has risen.
Image: GALLO IMAGES

You are likely to be killed in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay (greater Port Elizabeth) or eThekwini (Durban) than in all the three metros of Gauteng. 

This was revealed in the latest State of Urban Safety in South Africa 2018/2019 report released by SA Cities (SACN) on Thursday.

The study, being conducted for the third time, focuses on the country’s nine metros - Johannesburg, Cape Town, eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Mangaung, Buffalo City and Msunduzi.

The latest edition looked at crime trends over a 13 year period starting in the 2005/2006 financial year.

Researchers found that murder in Cape Town has steadily swelled since 2009/2010 increasing by almost 70% between 2009/2010 and 2017/2018, despite flattening over the three years from 2014/15 and 2016/2017.

Cape Town had the highest murder rate per 100 000 people at 69 followed by the Nelson Mandela Bay at 55 and eThekwini at 46.

However, researchers found that over the past 13 years, the murder rate in the three Gauteng metros remained below the national average. Yet the average murder rate for the nine cities has remained well above the national average.

“The increase in the murder rate in Cape Town is presumably driven by gang violence, which has been exacerbated by the supply of thousands of illegal firearms to criminal gangs in the city…There is also evidence to suggest that similar illegal firearm transfers into Nelson Mandela Bay have significantly contributed to the city’s elevated murder rate in recent years,” researchers said.

The national average on murder is 36 per 100 000 people. This is lower than the murder average in 1994 which stood at 69. South Africa had its lowest murder rate in 2011 which stood at 30 per 100 000 but it then began to rise.

During the study, researchers used data from the from national crime statistics released by the Saps and other institutions such as Statistics SA.  The data was then aggregated to city level to give a more accurate representation of how crime is distributed in the cities.

The nine cities studied make about 40% of the country’s population and have a high contribution on the national statistics.

These cities are responsible for  47% of murders, 76% of car hijackings, 73% of vehicle thefts, 64% aggravated robberies and 58% of residential robberies.

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