This isn’t the news we were hoping to hear this week. But unfortunately, three cities in South Africa have been included on the top 50 list of “the most violent in the world”.
The study was carried out by The Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, and it’s an annual update on the world’s most dangerous hot-spots. This year, the four Mexican cities of Tijuana, Acapulco, Victory and Juarez occupied the top five, with Caracas in Venezuela breaking the stronghold in third.
The rating system is based on a pretty simple formula: You divide the city’s population by the number of homicides recorded over the last year, which produces a “murder rate”. Now, here comes the painful part for South Africans:
South African cities rated “the most dangerous”
Cape Town found itself 11th on the list and had the second-highest volume of murders recorded anywhere in the world behind Caracas. If not for a dense population, the Mother City would have easily broken the top ten.
There were an eye-watering 2 860 murders committed within a population of 4.3 million citizens. That equates to a murder rate of 66.3 people per 100 000 inhabitants.
It does, however, have to be said that this data includes killings from the Cape Flats, some 15 – 20km outside of the city centre. Those outer reaches of the city account for a majority of the figures we’re seeing, here.
You have to drop 34 places before you come to another South African city on the list. Nelson Mandela Bay creeps into the top fifty after 478 citizens from its 1.2 million population were slain in the last 12 months. NMB then has Durban for company in 47th, as Mzansi’s last two representatives are split by the American city of Detroit:
Most violent cities in the world:
(City, country and murders per 100 000 citizens)
- Tijuana, Mexico – 138.26
- Acapulco, Mexico – 110.5
- Caracas, Venezuela – 99.98
- Victory, Mexico – 86.01
- Juarez, Mexico – 85.56
- Irapuato, Mexico – 81.4
- Guiana, Venezuela – 78.3
- Native, Brazil – 74.67
- Strength, Brazil – 69.15
- Bolivar City, Venezuela – 69.09
- Cape Town, South Africa – 66.36
- Belem, Brazil – 65.31
- Cancun, Mexico – 64.47
- Feira de Santana, Brazil – 63.29
- St. Louis, USA – 60.59
45. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa – 39.16
46. Detroit, USA – 38.78
47. Durban, South Africa – 38.51
48. Teresina, Brazil – 37.61
49. Chihuahua, Mexico – 37.5
50. New Orleans, USA – 36.87
Data supported elsewhere
Very similar findings were published by World Atlas (WA) earlier this year. They also used the same metric to determine the “murder capitals” of the world, and could not keep Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and Durban out of the top 50. This is how WA summarised Mzansi:
“South Africa has often garnered publicity for its high crime and murder rates. Factors such as high unemployment rates and systemic racism have all been blamed for the violent trends in South African cities.”