South Africa ranks as third most dangerous country in the world

"The Numbeo Crime Index does not rely on actual crime statistics, instead, it is a perceptions index based on survey responses which focus on how safe and secure people feel. Participants are asked to score the level of crime in their country and city rating it from bad (-2) to good (+2), where 0 is average."

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

According to Numbeo’s 2020 Crime Index South Africa ranks as the third most dangerous country in the world. The list also claims four local cities rank among the 10 most dangerous cities around the globe.

The Numbeo Crime Index does not rely on actual crime statistics, instead, it is a perceptions index based on survey responses which focus on how safe and secure people feel. Participants are asked to score the level of crime in their country and city rating it from bad (-2) to good (+2), where 0 is average.

The survey in excess of 77,000 people participating, looking at citizens’ levels of fear around violent crimes, property being stolen, hate crimes, as well as corruption and bribery.

Out of the 77,000 participants, the survey attracted 2,300 South African participants.

Through the responses, South Africa moved up to third place, one place up from 2019 when South Africa came in at fourth place.

Venezuela takes first place with Papua New Guinea following in second place. Afghanistan clinches fourth place in the list, with Honduras coming in at fifth place.

According to the survey participants, the four most South African dangerous cities in the world are Pietermaritzburg, followed by Pretoria in fourth place, Durban in fifth place and Johannesburg following in sixth place.

With the Numbeo 2020 Crime Index classifying South Africa classified as the third most dangerous country in the world, what are your thoughts? Do you feel South Africa is as dangerous as the index portrays? Or do you feel the survey participants exaggerated on how unsafe they feel in the country?

Share your views and opinions with us in the comment section below.

Read more: Crime stats, how bad is the situation in South Africa, Newcastle Madadeni and Osizweni?

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30 Responses

  1. Yes! It is a dangerous country and very fortunate for those that have been able to leave. I live in Atlanta, USA, 43 year old white lady. I have three children and don’t even want to take them to South Africa to visit. I still have family there who live in fear every day for their lives. Any statistics on the crime and danger in South Africa will always be undermined as the government take huge steps to cover up the evils that outplay every day in the lives of South Africans.

    1. My South African husband convinced me to move from Atlanta where my children went to Lovett. I went along with the idea 37 years ago because I was promised that, when my children went to varsity in North America, we’d spend 50% of our time overseas, 50% here. I’m so sorry I didn’t insist on having that put into a legal form. Things did not go as I was told. The Rand is too weak to start a new life in the first world. EVERYONE I know in S A is extremely frightened about their personal safety. Each of us carries many stories. My 22-year-old granddaughter, the sole passenger in a car, managed to escape an attempted hi-jacking at gunpoint. Several family members and friends, some at gun or knifepoint, have had their homes ransacked. The culprits were never found – nothing was recovered. My husband and I have had two cars stolen. Our house was broken into during the night while we were sleeping. Blessedly the property was ‘armed’ and the security system alarm went off immediately. The robbers fled. My son-in-law and my daughter were bound hand and foot at gunpoint in their very upmarket area in Jo’burg. My son-in-law managed to untie himself, slammed shut the security gate on the bedroom door and pressed the panic button. I have no doubt his actions saved their lives. Without thinking about it, I can name seven people who have been murdered. I have either known the individuals, personally, or they were family members of my friends. I live in P E. People are being robbed on the beach, in the parks, etc. Stores and customers in malls and restaurants are also being robbed by armed groups. There, is, literally, nowhere one can assume complete safety exists. Living in South Africa has been a positive experience in many ways. I am immensely grateful for all of the lessons, good and bad, that I have learned. I, now, am so tired of the total absence of quality of life. I would never suggest people visit this country. Those who come on packaged tours do NOT see the reality of life here. Only the very savvy, experienced tourist/s should visit on his/her/their own. IF I leave, which is a possibility, it will be as a refugee with the maximum luggage allowance allowed by the airline. Blessedly, I am gifted with family who is willing to take on an old lady. Many are ‘trapped’ here because they lack options. I don’t know anybody who believes their children have a future in South Africa. Qualified people are pursuing possible options for beginning new lives elsewhere. Second-hand shops are selling excellent quality furniture because so much is available. Very few people can afford to ship their possessions across the world. The country is on the verge of total collapse. There was a time when I believed South Africa had a future. I no longer do. It breaks my heart that a country of such beauty and wonderful people has come to this…..

      1. True iam a Zambian I visited the country recently I was amazed by its beauty but alas the fear in me conquered all the sweet memories. I never enjoyed my stay there,the indigenous people live in fear watmore a stranger like me…

      2. It just breaks my heart reading this 💔I am South African I been away 10years in the uk and I miss all my family. I want to visit soon. It’s so sad to hear all this. I’m terrified for my family living there.

      3. Hi ,I read and agree somewhat on what you said about SA,but also I should disagree.its not the ole of SA ,the region where I stay is quite safe,we even sometimes forget to lock the doors,
        Please come have a visit to the garden route and experience living with no fear..

    2. I agree 100 %. Everything gets cover up. We live in fear when we leave our homes.
      I have 2 children living in the States.
      God bless America.

  2. Firstly learn to write in English. Secondly, how do Pretoria and Pietermaritzburg both come in at third?

    1. It is sad to see how the country has deteriorated from a healthy economy to a total economic disaster. The country has been stolen bankrupt by a total corrupt, incompetent and uneducated government. We are US citizens now, but still try to go back every 3 years to visit, because we love our country of birth. A shock it is to see how much it deteriorated from 3 years before. Only a new government and a miracle can heal SA to its old glory. The fools in control made it just another 3rd world country in Africa. This is the only creation of the past 26 years of their reign. They only destroyed, did not create anything.

  3. Survey is right on target. Perhaps some areas are THE WORST dangerous places in the world. Jhb CBD is a no go area for most people.

    1. I agree with the Survey not a day go past without someone being murdered or raped Even in hospitals of all places It is not save anywhere in SA

    2. I sleep with 3 loaded firearms within reach. Still sleep with one eye open. Will forget to wear underwear before I forget my self defence tools. What a s*hole country the ANC has turned this into

  4. Everything everyone said is so true I live in polokwane I kinda feel safe have a lot of white and colored friends it’s seems the bigger your group of friends are definitely plays a role in your safety everywhere in SA

  5. When everyone wants to rule the roost there’s definitely going to be a fight..
    I’m from South Africa _Durban … and drive daily in the heart of CBD , From a beautiful city it’s now become ugly, ..basically people have no regard for the law, drive as they please, and do as they please. At stop streets and robots, even in dire heat! You must ensure windows are up and doors locked , every local post you read is all negative, about who got robbed and shot…

    Personally! I too was a victim of an armed robbery and was physically attacked and shot ,so were my kids… and no1 was caught, case didnt progress more than a week and its thou that it didnt matter! Obviously with this kind of laws ,even the Crookd knows that they can get away with just about anything and everything…

    A strong hand with courage and a truth leader is needed.. we want back our old South Africa as its been before. With universal understanding, tolerance and love…

    Peace and love…
    Z

  6. It is a dangerous place but so are a lot of other countries! It’s a case of always being vigilant, don’t put yourself at risk by going to places you know are dangerous ( there are places in any big cities around the world where you wouldn’t go) always stay safe at home, lock gates, windows and doors at night! I don’t think it was a big enough survey!

  7. I lived in South Africa all my life the country is really bad I was hijacked twice gun at my babies head gun pointed at my children house broken into four times dog poisoned Crime is unbearable in South Africa Cars broken into have to have cameras full alarm inside including full outdoor beams and electric fence, criminals in South Africa don’t just rob you they want to hurt or kill you.

  8. Spot on but I’m from cape Town and no women or children are safe here either. Every single day women are raped and killed, our children are raped and killed. Bodies found… Of children from only a couple of months old. We are not safe. I am so scared to raise my daughter here. As soon as I graduate I’m leaving. I’m not staying.

  9. Most of black south Africans are uncivilised, uncouth, uncultured, nonexposed just to mention a few of their nosense character. This extend to even some of the leaders including the incumbents, excluding Julius Malema and his party.

    The paradox of south Africa is that white people are safer than black people (am not racist anyway), it’s a “paradox” that i experienced when i was in their “secluded world”.

    Wonders of the world will never end! Especially in African continent where some Africans don’t even recognise that they are in African continent and don’t even know their history! It’s an African cultural tragedy.

  10. Yes is not safe but I disagree with your rating wat about the countries where people just get killed bombed and kidnapped for religious reasons.most of African people run
    To so south Africa they say coz it’s not safe in their countries

  11. I dont believe the ratio is correct according to the population there is crime in South Africa and everywhere else in the world i was born and Raised in Durban i now live in Australia i have had more break ins in Australia never had a negative event in South Africa influx of jobless people creates crime

  12. 50 years ago I wouldve disagreed with this survey… I am a 23 year old male, hard working male I might add… And everything I have ever worked for has been taken away from me either in a robbery or house break-in…. I also dont fully agree with the rank we have… I think we should br at the top of the list… Yes every country has crime… And just like anything else crime evovles… Or atleast here in this country… Look at how our crimes went from a normal robbery of person perhaps, to killing the person for R500 maybe… It is very scary to see how violent our crimes became… With murders almost being on top of our lists… Its almost like our criminals just decided that robbing someone is not good enough… Raping them also not good eneough for them… In the last lets say 10 years, our country went from a normal type country, to a country that seems to be at war.. In fact, thats exactly what we are at… We are at war!! Most people just dont see it yet or they dont want to accept the fact that we are… Innocent woman and children slaughtered every single day… I also lost a family member a few years ago, and he was murdered and the culprits got away… Our country likes to send our an army to other countries for “peace” keeping… However if you think of it… We actaully need them to do peace keeping here… Although I doubt that it will help… Maybe The United States should come to a point where they say enough is enough… Lets take action and stop this from happening… Because I am sorry to say, our country cant do ot and might never be able to do it… The first chance I get to leave this country, I will do it in a heart beat… Yes I’ll be leaving my family behind and I wish I could bring them all woth, but I cant… Hopefulle this happens soon… This is a disgrace of a country, cant even call ot a god danm country man!!!

  13. South Africa is too generous with their immigration. Chinese and Indians have made it easy for citizens to get access to guns and drugs, of-cause with the help of the government. I have to agree, I live in Joburg South Africa and I Iive in fear. I am also a victim… South Africa is totally out of order and I want the world to know this.. This country has gone to the dogs, there is no law here… Our African brothers and sisters come illegally in South Africa and end up being in the governments budget and we cannot say anything about it….. Some Nigerians are hijacking building in Joburg and the government does nothing, when South Africans complain, we are called xenophobia. As soon as I make enough money, I am out of South Africa.

    If a country start focusing on security businesses, that’s how we know things are out of control. No offense my SA brothers and sisters, I am a South African and been living here forever, but truth must be told.. whenever you go out of your house, especially in Joburg your live is in danger..

    This will offend a lot of South Africans I know. There are people in Africa living in the Jungle, without computers and phones and all that material staff, but I bet you, they are more happy and feel safe than most of us in South Africa. We live around a lot of evil people here… some foreigners are involved in heists, drug dealing and government corruption… and police are always part of them.

    Lot of evil people who can’t make something out of themselves, all they know is kill and take… Think twice before moving the South Africa… I am one of the black South African who is just tiered of covering up the shit happening in this country…

    After all God knows best..

  14. It’s really sad to see such a beautiful country and a once thriving economy reduced to absolute ruins. I don’t see us recovering from the disaster of the ruling party. The good citizens of this country, myself and family included, have no other recourse but you leave South Africa, permanently.

  15. Most of South Africa is decently safe. There are of course major hotspots for crime, but they are mostly petty crimes.

    Personally I believe the dangers of living in South Africa are sadly exaggerated. A lot of South Africans live by fear from word of mouth, rather than actually experiencing the trauma itself. And rightfully so, our police are slow to react and they’re uninterested in helping people. Our police look like the type of people that are only there for the money unfortunately. So I can understand why so many South Africans feel the way they do.
    However, South Africans tend to believe that certain issues are only in South Africa and a lot of South Africans have a very skewed perception of crime in other countries and we tend to think our countries are way better based off of anecdotes and television.

    I live in the West part of Johannesburg(majority middle class) My university is in Braamfontein, which is the safest part of the downtown Johannesburg and In the 21 years of my life I’ve never been robbed, I’ve never seen a robbery take place in front of my eyes and neither have a seen anything traumatic from a crime point of view. Most of Johannesburg is safe. Yes there are a lot of petty crimes here and there, but 99% of them result in the victims not being a physical altercation, hurt or in trauma.

    Cape Town on the other hand, experiences a lot of violent crimes. I’ve only been there once, I felt very safe as I was in the middle and upper class parts of the city.

    The overall issue of crime is that it is in the lower classed parts of the major cities.

    There’s not much crime in most of South Africa. South Africa is just like every other Western country, except our police is a bit of an embarrassment in a lot of cases. Our crime statistics do not take South Africa’s unique economy into consideration, therefore overblowing and generalizing our crime statistics.

    Hope my comment gave a better perspective.

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