The crime statistics reveal that 30 of the 1 140 police stations account for a disproportionate amount of crime reported. For example, the 30 account for 20 percent (one-in-five) of all murders in the country.
Topping the list of offenders is Nyanga police precinct in Cape Town where 308 murders were recorded. Nyanga is joined in the group of 30 by another nine Western Cape stations. This invites the suggestion that Nyanga, Mitchells Plain, Delft etc. make the Western Cape not Cape Town the murder capital of the country.
However the identification of the 30 police stations does not take the size of the population served by each station into consideration. Most of the stations on the list tend to be very large in terms of the population they serve. As a result they can be expected to have a relative large number of murders.
The typical police station in South Africa serves a population of 50 000 and each records, on average, 17 murders a year. Nyanga, by contrast serves a population of over 200 000. Similarly, Delft serves a population of over 150 000 and Mitchells Plain serves 200 000.
When population size is brought into consideration a somewhat different picture emerges as to which areas are most dangerous. Among the 30 the highest murder rate is in Phillipi East.
Despite having recorded over 200 murders the area has a relatively small population. Phillipi East also has a relatively large transient area which means the station services far more than the residential population of 60 000.
The same can be said of Jeppe police station in Johannesburg which services a population of only 64 000 and a large number transient population commuting through the area.
There are only 19 police stations where more than 100 murders were recorded. Once population has been factored in the crime levels in Cape Town still looms large. Among stations recording over 100 murders the eight highest murder rates, with the exception of Jeppe, are in Cape Town.
The size of the population (residential and transient) is one of the factors affecting the number of murders recorded in a precinct. However other factors heavily influence the level of security in an area.
The situation on the Cape Flats is contrasted by precincts like Lusikisiki. Lusikisiki has the same sized population as Nyanga (202 000) yet recorded 97 murders compared to Nyanga’s 308. There s little doubt that social issues play a central role in the levels of anti-social behaviour. This said, the size of the precinct’s population cannot simply be ignored.