South Africa Crime Rate and Safe City

Updated on January 9, 2024

South Africa is a country known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and diverse wildlife. However, it is also sadly recognized for its high crime rate. This article aims to provide an overview of the crime situation in South Africa, while also highlighting some of the country’s safer cities. Understanding these aspects can be beneficial for tourists, expatriates, and locals alike, as it helps in making informed decisions about personal safety and security.

The Crime Situation in South Africa

South Africa has struggled with high crime rates for several years. Some common types of crimes include robbery, assault, carjacking, home invasion, and theft. It is important to note that while crime can occur anywhere in the country, certain areas and cities tend to have higher rates than others.

South Africa Crime Rate and Safe City

Crime Hotspots

There are several areas in South Africa that are known for their higher crime rates. These include metropolitan areas like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Criminal activities are often prevalent in certain neighborhoods, townships, and central business districts. It is recommended to exercise caution and be vigilant when visiting these areas, especially during the night.

Contributing Factors

Various factors contribute to the high crime rates in South Africa. Socioeconomic disparities, unemployment, poverty, and substance abuse are some of the key underlying issues. Unemployment, in particular, has been a significant contributing factor, as it fuels desperation and increases the likelihood of criminal activities.

Violent Crimes

South Africa has unfortunately gained a reputation for its high levels of violent crimes. This includes incidents such as murder and assault. It is essential to avoid confrontations and remain alert in unfamiliar surroundings. Employing basic safety measures like keeping doors locked, avoiding isolated areas at night, and not displaying valuable items can help mitigate the risk of becoming a victim of violent crime.

Tourist Safety

While South Africa has many popular tourist destinations, it is crucial for visitors to be mindful of their safety. Tourists should avoid flaunting expensive belongings, and it is advisable to remain aware of their surroundings, particularly in crowded areas and public transportation. It is recommended to consult local authorities, tour guides, or trusted sources for up-to-date information regarding safe areas and potential risks.

The Concept of Safe Cities

Despite the challenges posed by crime, South Africa does have certain cities that are relatively safer than others. These cities aim to provide a secure environment for residents and visitors. While no city can claim to be completely crime-free, the following cities have demonstrated lower crime rates compared to the national average.

Cape Town

Cape Town, often regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, has made significant efforts to improve safety and security. Tourist areas such as the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, and Camps Bay tend to have a stronger police presence, making them relatively safer for tourists. However, it is still crucial to be cautious and avoid isolated areas, especially after dark.

Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth has been recognized as one of the safer cities in South Africa. With a lower crime rate than the national average, it offers a more tranquil environment for both residents and tourists. The beachfront area, known as The Boardwalk, is a popular destination and generally considered safe. Nonetheless, vigilance is always advised.

East London

East London is another city that has seen a decline in crime rates in recent years. It boasts stunning beaches and a pleasant climate. While the city has made strides in enhancing safety, it is still prudent to take necessary precautions and remain aware of one’s surroundings.


Stellenbosch, situated in the Western Cape region, is known for its world-renowned wineries and picturesque landscapes. It is generally considered safer compared to larger cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town. However, it is essential to remain cautious, especially if exploring rural areas or hiking trails.


Bloemfontein, the judicial capital of South Africa, is often regarded as one of the country’s safer cities. Its strong community policing initiatives have contributed to a lower crime rate compared to many other areas. Nonetheless, basic safety practices should still be adhered to.


South Africa’s high crime rate remains a concern for its residents and visitors. However, by being aware of the crime situation and taking necessary precautions, it is possible to minimize the risk of falling victim to criminal activities. While certain cities like Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Stellenbosch, and Bloemfontein have relatively lower crime rates, it is always important to exercise caution and rely on local advice to ensure personal safety in any part of the country. By being informed and vigilant, individuals can better enjoy the beauty and experiences that South Africa has to offer.