State of Urban Safety in South African 2017 – Flyer

Cities generate 80% of the worldwide gross national product and are crucial for achieving national, regional and global sustainable development goals. They are places of opportunities but can also be places of inequality marked by violence and crime. South African cities are no exception. Factors associated with the high crime and violence in cities include extreme inequality, social and spatial exclusion, unemployment, insufficient access to basic and social services, and inadequately managed urban growth.


The 2017 report is the second in a series of annual urban safety reports that aim to incrementally present, analyse and assess city-level crime and violence trends, to enable better urban safety planning, development and implementation. The report updates the data presented last year, based on the national crime statistics released in September 2016, and highlights the USRG’s work aimed at encouraging greater learning, exchange and cooperation around safety issues by South Africa’s largest metros.


The report also gives an overview of the global, regional and national evolution of urban safety topics, and an update on the African Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) as a new platform for advancing a cities’ role at a continental level. Nationally, cities are recognised as central to sustainable and inclusive urbanisation, but “a lack of safety in urban areas directly affects the socio-economic development prospects, not only of cities and their inhabitants, but also of the entire country and its population” (Integrated Urban Development Framework, 2016).


The report acknowledges the comprehensive policy field on building safer communities but recognises that significant gaps in implementation remain. It proposes recommendations aimed at addressing cross-cutting risk factors that contribute to driving violence and crime in cities, encouraging integrated approaches that ensure sustainable results and helping to improve perceptions of safety in cities.