We usually do so well to spread POSITIVE news, but in trying to equip you with the best & most useful info possible, we can’t avoid the nasty stuff.
And so, with that in mind, we’d like to direct you to the ever-informative & very useful site: Crimehub, hosted by the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. This site is not only packed with handy statistics (which is often helpful when trying to look at how the bigger picture is becoming more positive!), but also tips on staying safe & what types of crimes are most likely to occur & where.
If you’re feeling a bit too lazy to navigate the site for yourself (though it has a really easy navigation menu, so pay them a visit!), we thought it would be useful to show you just what kind of info you can find there.
What types of crimes happen most in South Africa, and where do they occur? We thought it best to look at the crimes South Africans are most concerned with: robbery, house burglary, murder, sexual crimes & non-residential burglary. We chose to look at the Western Cape because most of our followers are based here – but the Crimehub has plenty of info on all regions in South Africa.
If you’re concerned about having your car stolen, the top regions in the Western Cape for automobile theft are, as expected, largely centrally located – the CBD & suburbs such as Plumstead, Mitchell’s Plain, Observatory, and outlying areas such as Kraaifontein & Worcester.
What’s so particularly exciting about this map is that the information hidden within it. Just click on a region you’d like to know more about, and a dialogue box will pop up with more information on that specific area, e.g.:
Here you can see information, over time, on automobile theft in the Claremont (Southern Suburbs) region of Cape Town. Look at that graph descend! Good news indeed.
So what do these statistics tell us?
The statistics do, of course, not provide underlying information on reasons behind high or low criminal activity (for example, the high theft rate in Observatory may be related to the abundance of street-parked cars of older models commonly driven by students in the area – all easier to steal, and often poorly protected). These statistics, therefore, won’t tell you whether your car is likely to be nicked from under your nose if you live in or visit an area with a high theft rate, and should not be used to demarcate areas as worth avoiding simply because you’ve observed that cars are stolen there more frequently. The lower rate in Pinelands, for example, could reasonably be attributed to safe & secure parking spaces for Pinelands residents, but a car parked on the street may equally as likely be targeted for theft in the area. Essentially, we’re saying: read these maps with criticism & continue to be vigilant when protecting your car & home, no matter which area you live in or visit.
Let’s look at residential burglary (an act Thorne is most actively involved in deterring & combating):
A rather depressing site, the map shows us that residential burglary remains high throughout the region, only dropping below the 100-incident mark in less-populated areas. Centrally, Cape Town is badly affected & despite the optimistic, hot pink colour chosen to represent 300-and-up burglaries, this means that vigilance is necessary when considering home security in the Western Cape.
If you look below, the Johannesburg & Pretoria region too, are terribly affected by residential burglaries, a statistic we’re all hoping to change for the better in the near future.
Theft at business premises
Apart from the CBD area (where businesses are concentrated), much of Cape Town experiences lower numbers of theft at business premises than at residential. As we look at industrial locations, however, the situation worsens, naturally. Theft at business premises varies from inside action (employees, etc.) to armed robbery. We advise business owners to be careful about money storage, have adequate alarm systems & CCTV surveillance, and not to skimp on the standard burglar preventatives often used in residential protection. In addition, don’t keep cash on premises longer than you need to – if it requires more frequent trips to the bank, do so! It’s not worth getting caught with your guard down. We recently experienced an armed robbery in our own office complex after-hours on a Friday night – things can quickly get ugly if you make it known that much cash/expensive merchandise is within relatively easy access or if your property is clearly visible to the street. Don’t rely on the lone security guard in your building/complex to risk his/her life to protect your belongings, either. And don’t risk your own! Insure your business premises & keep cash at a minimum.
A sad statistic, the murder rate in South Africa remains high. The Southern Suburbs, coastal & central regions of the city are, however, far safer than those living in townships closer to the outskirts of the city. The most horrifying is the number of murders (200 and up) in the Nyanga, Crossroads & Browns Farm area. Crimehub also offers academic papers discussing efforts to reduce or understand such high statistics for violent crimes in South Africa, so have a look at those if you’re concerned about your city & consider finding out if there is any action you can take. Whether it be the promotion of professional policing, supporting community projects, etc. – it’s always a good idea to add your muscle to the efforts already out there to reduce these numbers. Even if just for selfish reasons (because violent crime has a nasty habit of spreading).
Finally, this statistic is one which is most likely to be the most inaccurate. While probably fairly represented by percentage, sexual crimes are grossly under-reported. It does not only include attacks by strangers, but it is important to note that, like murder, it is often committed by persons known to the victim. As you can see, it’s relatively evenly spread throughout the region, and this map is also reflective of just how often (or rarely) these crimes are reported. We considered not including this statistic, as it was 1: incredibly depressing and 2: seemingly more removed from ‘home security’ than the other crimes. But it’s important to know that we are committed to aiding & promoting all kinds of security here. No safety article should censor information that could help you & your community stay safe. It’s hard to prevent crimes such as sexual attacks, but it’s important to encourage the reporting of & help people keep a lookout for such activities. Safety tips for these could be encouraging the promotion of education on sexual crimes, understanding how to safely use social media online to limit information-sharing, start/join self-defense groups, and much more.
Now, don’t let these statistics depress you – let them empower you! Crimehub is filled with handy tips on preventing crime in South Africa, as well as information on reporting criminal activity. The crime rate is going down in many areas, and the SAPS is constantly trying to improve its services. With adequate home security, arming yourself with security information & being vigilant about personal & community safety, you can enjoy your home, neighbourhood, city, country. OK, enough preaching – stay safe & stay well 🙂
Maps & graphs courtesy of Crimehub, an online portal hosted by the Institute of Security Studies (http://www.issafrica.org/crimehub/)