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South Africa Is Undergoing A Steady Increase In Crime

According to a new report, it is one of the most dangerous nations in Africa.

South Africa is immersed in a critical outlook marked by the constant rise in crime, ranking among the most dangerous nations in Africa, according to the recently published Organized Crime Index in Africa 2023, developed by the Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crime (Enact) project. 

As stated in that Index, the country takes the third position on the list, surpassed only by Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading the alarming continental statistics.

The report highlights that, in the last five years, crime throughout Africa has experienced a constant increase with no signs of slowing down. Significant challenges persist, such as human trafficking, the growth of cocaine markets in various regions, and the endemic presence of financial crimes. This revealing diagnosis sheds light on the complexities and threats facing the region.

The third edition of the mentioned index, published every two years since 2019, uses a scale of 0 to 10 to classify illicit activities. For 2023, South Africa scored an overall crime rating of 7.18, representing an increase of 0.56 percentage points since 2021. These figures underscore the urgency of addressing the criminal situation in the country.

The Enact project, implemented by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in collaboration with Interpol and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, plays a crucial role in gathering and analyzing this critical information. 

It classifies 15 illicit activities with “criminal market scores,” addressing aspects that include human trafficking, people smuggling, arms trafficking, extortion, organized crime for protection, and financial crimes.

In this context, South Africa stands out with scores of 8, particularly in areas such as extortion and arms trafficking, as well as in the category of synthetic drug trafficking, where it scores 8.5. Challenges associated with crimes against wildlife are also a worrying issue with a prominent score of 8, including rhinoceros poaching and horn trade.

In contrast, crimes against flora, related to plant poaching, are evaluated with a more moderate score of 5. These figures provide a detailed and alarming insight into the complexity of the criminal challenges facing South Africa today.

In this way, the report emphasized the complexity of the criminal environment in the nation, highlighting the essential involvement of state actors in the flourishing of illicit activities. This reality represents a persistent obstacle to the implementation of effective strategies against organized crime in the region.

However, the document exposes that, despite facing significant challenges, South Africa still exhibits resilience. While leading regional crime statistics, the country maintains strong national policies and laws, robust economic regulatory capacity, and a diversity of committed non-state actors.

On the other hand, the latest crime statistics from the South African Police Service (SAPS) shed light on the 30 top areas in the country that reported serious crimes in this period, focusing on 17 categories highlighted by the community.

The analysis shows the most dangerous areas in four main categories: contact crimes, contact-related crimes, property-related crimes, and other serious crimes. These categories include subcategories such as murder, attempted murder, assault, robbery, robbery with aggravating circumstances, vehicle theft, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and sexual offenses.

Between April and June 2023, 371,368 crimes of this nature were reported, representing a year-on-year increase of 2.2%, equivalent to approximately 4,126 crimes per day in South Africa. 

When analyzed by each province, most of these incidents occurred in Gauteng (27.9%), followed by the Western Cape (19.1%) and Kwa-Zulu Natal (15.7%). KZN experienced the highest year-on-year increase of 4.7%, followed by Gauteng (4%) and Mpumalanga (3.8%).

The Central Business District (CBD) of Cape Town tops the list of the most dangerous areas, followed by the CBDs of Johannesburg and Durban. In terms of highlighted crimes, the Johannesburg financial district ranks first in contact crimes and robbery with aggravating circumstances, while the Durban CBD leads in common robbery and shoplifting.

Car Theft

Recent statistics on hijacking and vehicle thefts in South Africa have also raised growing concern and transformation in the country’s criminal patterns, as revealed by the Santam Insurance Barometer 2022/23 report, covering the first half of this year. The report reflects a worrying 32% increase in hijacking reports and a staggering 92% increase in claims related to vehicle thefts.

The research highlights a shift in the focus of criminals, who have diverted their attention from older vehicles to newer bakkies and SUVs. Additionally, claims for thefts of high-value vehicles have experienced an alarming 128% increase in the commercial sector, with special attention to delivery trucks.

The report also points out a clear preference among criminals for double-cab and higher-cost SUVs, such as the Toyota Land Cruiser 300. These vehicles are up to 20 times more likely to be hijacked or stolen compared to similar-priced models, as detailed by Santam. Experts emphasize that these cars are popular targets due to the high demand for associated spare parts.In a Statista study for the year 2023, it was confirmed that Toyota cars are the most vulnerable to theft, representing approximately 32% of hijacked vehicles, followed by Volkswagen, with 14% of cases. These brands are also the most popular among South African drivers, highlighting the urgency of considering vehicle security and the importance of having reliable car insurance amid this concerning criminal landscape.

Reseach conducted by Quotes Advisor