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Graph of South Africa's murder rate (murders per 100,000 people) over a 100 year period from 1915 to 2015. The murder rate increased rapidly in the 1980s reaching its peak in 1993 then decreasing until bottoming out in 2011.

Crime is a prominent issue in "South Africa. The country has a very high rate of murders, assaults, rapes (adult, child, elderly and infant), and other crimes compared to most countries. Most emigrants from South Africa state that crime was a big factor in their decision to leave.[1] The "South African Police Service is responsible for managing 1,115 police stations across South Africa.[2]



In February 2007, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was contracted by the South African government to carry out a study on the nature of crime in South Africa. The study concluded that the country is exposed to high levels of violence as a result of different factors.

Violent crime[edit]

A survey for the period 1990–2000 compiled by the "United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked South Africa second for assault and murder (by all means) per capita and first for rapes per capita in a data set of 60 countries.[4] Total crime per capita was 10th out of the 60 countries in the dataset.["citation needed]

The "United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have conducted research[5] on the victims of crime which shows the picture of South African crime as more typical of a developing country.

Recently released statistics from the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Statistics South Africa (SSA) saw a slight decline of 1.4% in violent crimes committed in South Africa.[6]


Around 49 people are murdered in South Africa every day.[7] The murder rate increased rapidly in the late-1980s and early-1990s.[8] Between 1994 -2009, the murder rate halved from 67 to 34 murders per 100,000 people.[9] Between 2011-2015, it stabilised to around 32 homicides per 100,000 people although the total number of lives lost has increased due to the increase in population.[7] There have been numerous press reports on the manipulation of crime statistics that have highlighted the existence of incentives not to record violent crime.[10] Nonetheless, murder statistics are considered accurate.[11] In the 2016/17 year, the rate of murders increased to 52 a day, with 19,016 murders recorded between April 2016 to March 2017. [12]

Homicides per 100,000 from April to March:[13][14]


The country has one of the highest rates of "rape in the world, with some 65,000 rapes and other sexual assaults reported for the year ending in March 2012, or 127.6 per 100,000 people in the country.[15][16] The incidence of rape has led to the country being referred to as the "rape capital of the world".[17] One in three of the 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year.[18] More than 25% of South African men questioned in a survey published by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in June 2009 admitted to rape; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person.[19][20] Three out of four of those who had admitted rape indicated that they had attacked for the first time during their teenage years.[19] South Africa has amongst the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world.[21]

Car hijackings[edit]

South Africa has a high record of "carjacking when compared with other industrialised countries.[22] Insurance company "Hollard Insurance stated in 2007 that they would no longer insure "Volkswagen Citi Golfs, as they were one of the country's most frequently carjacked vehicles.[23] Certain high-risk areas are marked with road signs indicating a high incidence of carjackings within the locality.[24]

Murder of farmers[edit]

"Crime against white commercial farmers is particularly high,[25] and the issue continues to attract significant media attention.[26][27][28]


"Kidnapping in South Africa is a common in the country with over 4,100 occurring in the 2013/2014 period, and a child going missing every five hours.[29][30]

Financial crimes[edit]

"PricewaterhouseCoopers's fourth biennial Global Economic Crime Survey reported a 110% increase in fraud reports from South African companies in 2005. 83% of South African companies reported being affected by "white collar crime in 2005, and 72% of South African companies reported being affected in 2007. 64% of the South African companies surveyed stated that they pressed forward with criminal charges upon detection of fraud. 3% of companies said that they each lost more than 10,000,000 "South African rand in two years due to "fraud.["citation needed]

Louis Strydom, the head of PricewaterhouseCooper's forensic auditing division, said that the increase in fraud reports originates from "an increased focus on fraud risk management and embedding a culture of "whistle-blowing." According to the survey 45% of cases involved a perpetrator between the ages of 31 and 40: 64% of con men held a high school education or less.[31]

Advance fee fraud[edit]

"Advance fee fraud scammers based in South Africa have in past years reportedly conned people from various parts of the world out of millions of rands.[32] South African police sources stated that "Nigerians living in "Johannesburg suburbs operate "advance fee fraud (419) schemes.[33]

In 2002, the South African "Minister of Finance, "Trevor Manuel, wanted to make a call centre for businesses to check reputations of businesses due to proliferation of scams such as "advance fee fraud, "pyramid schemes and fly-by-night operators.[34] In response, the South African Police Service has established a project which has identified 419 "scams, closing websites and bank accounts where possible.[35]


Gated communities[edit]

"Gated communities are popular with the South African "middle-class, Black as much as White.[11] Gated communities are usually protected by high perimeter walls topped with electric fencing, guard dogs, barred doors and windows and alarm systems linked to private security forces.[11] The Gauteng Rationalisation of Local Government Affairs Act 10 of 1998, allows communities to "restrict" access to public roads under the supervision of the municipalities. The law requires that entry control measures within these communities should not deny anyone access. The Tshwane municipality failed to process many of the applications it has received, leaving many suburbs exposed to high levels of crime. Several communities successfully sued, won and are now legally restricting access.[36][37][38] These measures are generally considered effective in reducing crime (within those areas).[39] Consequently, the number of enclosed neighbourhoods (existing neighbourhoods that have controlled access across existing roads)[40] in Gauteng has continued to grow.[41]

Private security companies[edit]

To protect themselves and their assets, many businesses and middle-to-high-income households make use of privately owned "security companies with armed "security guards. The South African Police Service employ private security companies to patrol and safeguard certain police stations, thereby freeing fully trained police officers to perform their core function of preventing and combating crime.[42] A December 2008 BBC documentary, "Law and Disorder in Johannesburg, examined such firms in the Johannesburg area, including the Bad Boyz security company.

It is argued that the police response is generally too slow and unreliable, thus private security companies offer a popular form of protection. Private security firms promise response times of two to three minutes.[43] Many levels of protection are offered, from suburban foot patrols to complete "security checkpoints at the entry points to homes.["citation needed]


The government has been criticised for doing too little to stop crime. Provincial legislators have stated that a lack of sufficient equipment has resulted in an ineffective and demoralised "South African Police Service.[44] The Government was subject to particular criticism at the time of the Minister of Safety and Security visit to "Burundi, for the purpose of promoting peace and democracy, at a time of heightened crime in "Gauteng. This spate included the murder of a significant number of people, including members of the South African Police Service, killed while on duty.[45] The criticism was followed by a ministerial announcement that the government would focus its efforts on mitigating the causes for the increase in crime by 30 December 2006. In one province alone, nineteen police officers lost their lives in the first seven months of 2006.["citation needed]

Recently,["when?] the government had a widely publicised gun amnesty program to reduce the number of weapons in private hands. In 1996 or 1997, the government has tried and failed to adopt the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which aimed to prevent crime through reinforcing community structures and assisting individuals to get back into work.[46]

A previous Minister of Safety and Security, "Charles Nqakula, evoked public outcry among South Africans in June 2006 when he responded to opposition MPs in "parliament who were not satisfied that enough was being done to counter crime, suggesting that MPs who complain about the country's "crime rate should stop complaining and "leave the country.[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Independent Newspapers Online (6 October 2006). "SA's woes spark another exodus". Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Police (per capita) (most recent) by country". Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "What burglars don't want you to know". Local. Lowvelder. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  4. ^ NationMaster: South African crime statistics. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
  5. ^ Victimisation in the developing world Archived 7 June 2007 at the "Wayback Machine. Justice Research Institute
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "South Africa 'a country at war' as murder rate soars to nearly 49 a day". the Guardian. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Is SA worse off now than 19 years ago? The facts behind THAT Facebook post". Africa Check. 
  10. ^ The reliability of violent crime statistics Archived 17 January 2012 at the "Wayback Machine. Studies
  11. ^ a b c "The great scourges". The Economist. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "S. Africa murder rate rises to 52 a day". AFP. 
  13. ^ SAPS data reproduced by the Institute for Security Studies Archived 17 January 2012 at the "Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ South African Murder rates 2003–2010 Archived 2 April 2012 at the "Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "South Africa gang rape a symbol of nation's problem". 11 February 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Total sexual offences" (PDF). South African Police. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  17. ^ SA 'rape capital' of the world, News24, 22 November 2005. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  18. ^ "Rape- silent war on SA women". BBC News. 9 April 2002. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "South African rape survey shock." BBC News. 18 June 2009.
  20. ^ "Quarter of men in South Africa admit rape, survey finds". "The Guardian. 17 June 2009.
  21. ^ Perry, Alex (5 November 2007). "Oprah scandal rocks South Africa". TIME. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  22. ^ ISS. "Crime in South Africa: A country and cities profile". Institute for Security Studies. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Independent Newspapers Online (24 October 2007). "Why insurance firm snubs Citi Golfs". Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  24. ^ "Extreme weekend". 15 April 2007. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2008. 
  25. ^ Counting South Africa's crimes, Mail and Guardian, Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  26. ^ Farmer killed, dragged behind bakkie,, Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  27. ^ "BBC World Service - Programmes - South Africa Farm Murder". Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "Two more S.African farmers killed: death toll now at 3,037". Digital Journal. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  29. ^ "Crime Statistics: April 2013 - March 2014". South African Police Service. Archived from the original on 6 March 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  30. ^ "The Shocking Reality". Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "SA, capital of white-collar crime Archived 16 October 2007 at the "Wayback Machine. date=May 2016
  32. ^ Independent Newspapers Online (7 March 2004). "419 fraud schemes net R100m in SA". Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  33. ^ "Rip-off artists exploit land reform," "The Namibian
  34. ^ "How to impersonate a central bank via email," "Times of India
  35. ^ "Crime Prevention – 419 Scams". Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  36. ^ Constantia Glen goes to court. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  37. ^ Lynnwood Manor won court case. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  38. ^ Brunaly won court case. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  39. ^ Gated communities are effective. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  40. ^ AN OVERVIEW OF ENCLOSED NEIGHBOURHOODS IN SOUTH AFRICA Archived 4 April 2012 at the "Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ GATED COMMUNITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA: A review of the relevant policies and their implications Archived 31 January 2012 at the "Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  42. ^ Cops spend R100m on private security protection, "SABC News, 10 March 2007. Retrieved 10 March 2007.
  43. ^ "Crime in South Africa: It won't go away - The Economist". The Economist. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  44. ^ "News24, South Africa's premier news source, provides breaking news on national, world, Africa, sport, entertainment, technology & more". News24. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  45. ^ Independent Newspapers Online (5 July 2006). "DA challenge on Burundi". Archived from the original on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  46. ^ "Independent Projects Trust: Crime prevention projects". Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  47. ^ Fight or flight? Archived 27 August 2006 at the "Wayback Machine. 06. Retrieved 28 September 2006.

External links[edit]

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