You are much safer living in Durban than you would be in either Port Elizabeth or Cape Town. But as a Durbanite you are not as safe from violent crime as your Johannesburg counterparts are.
That is according to a study by a Mexican research NGO, the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, ranking the world’s 50 most violent cities in 2011.
The study’s credibility has however been questioned by local crime experts who cast doubt on the methodology and the statistics used.
Four South African cities are on the list that is largely dominated by cities in Latin America.
In the study released earlier this month Cape Town is ranked 34th, PE 41st, Durban 49th and Johannesburg 50th.
Despite the country having not yet released the crime statistics for 2011 the report states that last year Cape Town had a murder rate of 46 per 100 000 people while PE recorded a rate of 36. Durban and Johannesburg recorded rates of 30.54 and 30.50 respectively.
The last statistics released by the police were for the 2010/2011 financial year, which ended in March 2011.
The list suggests that Cape Town is more dangerous than cities like Mosul in Iraq and Baltimore in the US.
San Pedro Sula in Honduras tops the list with 159 murders per 100 000 residents.
Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, which led the list for three consecutive years, dropped to second last year with 148 homicides for every 100 000 inhabitants.
The council compiled its list of the globe’s 50 most violent cities by comparing every city with more than 300 000 residents for which homicide statistics were available on the internet.
But the council also casts doubts on the credibility of some of the stats used in the analysis.
“The behaviour of various government authorities of Mexico does not inspire confidence in official figures, as there is evidence of forgery.”
South African crime experts have cast doubt on the rankings.
Senior crime researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Dr Johan Burger said it was “extremely difficult” to accurately compare the crime statistics of cities and countries. He said there were different definitions for crime recording in every country.
“It’s very difficult and risky to accurately analyse something like the most dangerous or violent city or country in the world.”
Lizette Lancaster, project manager of the ISS crime and justice hub, said the Eastern Cape’s Buffalo City municipality, comprising East London, Mdantsane and Duncan Village, had the country’s highest murder rate of 56.1 per 100 000 people last year.
Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, in the same province, had a rate of 49.4. Cape Town recorded a murder rate of 45.9, she said, while Mangaung (Bloemfontein) had a murder rate of 42 and eThekwini (Durban metro) had a rate of 34.9 per 100 000.
“The safest metropolitan areas in relation to murder were Tshwane (22.9), followed by Johannesburg (29.5) and Ekurhuleni (34.6) – all in Gauteng,” she said.
“Analyses of smaller localities reveal that there are substantial differences within provinces and cities.
“In the Cape Town metropolitan area precincts such as Milnerton, Langa, Gugulethu, Harare, Nyanga, Delft and Mitchells Plain possess far higher murder rates than the tourist locations of Camps Bay and the city centre.”
Mary de Haas, KwaZuluNatal’s violence monitor, said she was sceptical of the research. “Without knowing the methodology used and where they (the researchers or analysts) got those stats from it is very difficult to comment.”