This is a very important question as where you live determines the amount of risk you put yourself at. Some areas are simply more dangerous than others. There are many factors determining the level of danger in any one area. Some areas have a higher rate of certain types of crimes than others.
It is important, wherever you live to take proper precautions against crime and to be vigilant about your safety. While statistics say that you are at a higher risk of becoming a victim in certain places, crime can happen anywhere, to anyone and it is very important to look after yourself wherever you live.
What makes an area higher in crime?
There are several factors that influence the crime statistics in any one area. The economic and social situation of the people living in the area, the type of area that it is, the governance of the area and the level of social responsibility of the people living in the area all lend themselves to the amount of crime that takes place. If an area has a very poor population with a low standard of living, a high unemployment rate and a poor education system resulting in very few educated individuals, there is usually more crime. This is usually because of sheer desperation and frustration of certain people.
Crimes in these areas will range from murders to petty theft and include everything in between. Informal settlements are a perfect example of this sort of area. Usually, richer communities living close to informal settlements will have a high level of crime committed by individuals from the informal settlement.
The type of area also influences the crime level. Small towns, farming communities, rural areas and seaside villages tend to have lower levels of crime than large cities. This may be because of the sheer volume of people living at such close quarters in the city or it may be because slower paced communities have a higher life satisfaction level.
The governance of the area plays a huge role in the level of crime. In Switzerland, for example, there is very little crime because police and law makers are strict about all rules and laws and because they react quickly to crime. In South Africa, it is well known that there has been corruption within the police. There is also a perception that the police do not react as quickly as they should when there is an occurrence and that they allow criminals to be let off on very light penalties, or with no penalties at all, because of poor administration and not sticking to protocol. This means that many criminals know that they can get away with crimes because the justice system is unlikely to take them to task.
Another factor affecting the level of crime in any given area is the social responsibility of the people living in that area. If a community is generally happy and feels looked after by their leaders and feels a sense of community pride and a bond with the rest of the community, they will be more likely to try to keep crime down themselves. Neighbourhood watches, adults of one family keeping an eye on the children and property of their neighbours and generally vigilance and pro-activeness are definitely factors that keep crime down.
Is it safer to live in Cape Town than in Gauteng?
Looking at the above influences, it is probably safer to live in Cape Town than in Johannesburg and surrounds. The Gauteng area has a higher level of most crime statistics, according to Statistics.co.za, than Cape Town or any other area in South Africa.
Cape Town is also a smaller city with less individuals and less over-crowding and fewer ‘bad’ areas. There are, of course, informal settlements near both cities, but Cape Town seems to have a lower level of unemployment. Cape Town is also well-known for being cleaner and more beautiful than Gauteng. This could lend a sense of pride and community to people living in Cape Town that is missing in Gauteng.