The most violent provinces in South Africa

The South African Police Service has released its most up-to-date set of crime statistics, covering the last three quarters of 2016.

Crime stats releases in South Africa are often criticised for being out of date by the time the annual report is released to the public.

For example, the 2016 crime stats released by the SAPS in September 2016 covered crime activity between March 2015 and March 2016 – 6 months old by the time the data is published.

In a bid to correct this, the SAPS said that it would change its publication schedule, and try to release the data quarterly – giving a better indication of crime activity trends in the country.

While Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal consistently record the highest numbers of reported murders in the country, given their large populations, this is not a surprise.

When calculated as a rate per 100,000 population, however, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape are often at odds with each other to claim the top ‘dishonour’ of being the most violent provinces in the country.

With the latest crime stats release, this trend has not changed,with the gap between the two provinces narrowing.

Despite being home to the most violent city in South Africa – and one of the most violent cities in the world – the Western Cape is not South Africa’s most violent province.

In the latest release, covering April 2016 to December 2016, the Eastern Cape’s murder rate was 40.1 per 100,000 people, compared to the Western Cape’s 39.4 per 100,000 – a narrow 0.7 point lead.

In the comparative data – covering April 2015 to December 2015 – the Eastern Cape also had the highest murder rate at 41.7 murders per 100,000 people, compared to the Western Cape’s 39.7 per 100,000 people.

The tables below show the changes:

Murder rate: April 2015 to December 2015 (9 months)

Population data based on Stats SA mid-year estimated for 2015

Province Population Murders Murder rate (per 100,000 people)
Eastern Cape 6 916 200 2 882 41.7
Western Cape 6 200 100 2 464 39.7
Free State 2 817 900 769 27.3
KwaZulu-Natal 10 919 100 2 975 27.2
South Africa 54 956 900 14 343 26.1
Northern Cape 1 185 600 287 24.2
Gauteng 13 200 300 2 948 22.3
North West 3 707 000 691 18.6
Mpumalanga 4 283 900 651 15.2
Limpopo 5 726 800 676 11.8

Murder rate: April 2016 to December 2016 (9 months)

Population data based on Stats SA mid-year estimated for 2016

Province Population Murders Murder rate (per 100,000 people)
Eastern Cape 7 061 700 2 831 40.1
Western Cape 6 293 200 2 481 39.4
KwaZulu-Natal 11 079 700 3 027 27.3
South Africa 55 908 900 14 343 25.6
Free State 2 861 600 714 25.0
Gauteng 13 498 200 3 057 22.6
Northern Cape 1 191 700 248 20.8
North West 3 790 600 686 18.1
Mpumalanga 4 328 300 695 16.1
Limpopo 5 803 900 594 10.2

Statistically, 52 murders take place in South Africa every day, a metric which has not changed between 2015 and 2016.

Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal carry the same per-day risk, with both provinces seeing 11 murder per day each, followed by the Eastern Cape (10 murders a day) and the Western Cape (9 murders per day).

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