Is Joburg Really That Dangerous?

Johannesburg City South Africa

Traveler magazine’s reader survey said Johannesburg is the most unfriendly city in the world, but crime statistics reveal a little more…

Johannesburg is often labelled as “incredibly dangerous” or “sketchy” from locals, foreigners and the general South African public, but is the City of Gold really the place we should be most worried about?

In a recent survey from Condé Nast Traveler magazine, Johannesburg was assigned the “most unfriendly city in the world” tag, which was decided by reader submissions.

The survey said: “Though Johannesburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, safety still remains a serious concern. ‘It is not safe to travel in Johannesburg independently,’ one reader warned, while others called it ‘dangerous’ and ‘a city of crime and contrasts’. In one instance, a visitor was ‘pressured to give a tip for personal service, which was not received’.”

So the “unfriendliness” is related to “crime” according to the survey. Fair enough, let’s take a look at some statistics.

In a list compiled by Business Insider (an extremely reputable source) of the 50 most violent cities in the world, Johannesburg doesn’t even feature. However, there are two SA hubs that do: Cape Town and Durban.

Based on crime-related statistics, Durban is rated at number 46 on the list, with 30.94 homicides per 100,000 residents, while Cape Town slots in at number 27, with 46.04 homicides per 100,000 residents. 

Both Durban and Cape Town have a higher homicide rate than Barranquilla in Colombia and Brasilia in Brazil, just to put it into perspective.

The point of this is just to explain that some of these “reader surveys” essentially have no real value in terms of what it’s actually like to live in these cities, and furthermore, they only perpetuate the stereotype of crime in Johannesburg. Yes, Joburg has crime, but pretending like other cities don’t is laughable.

Any amazing Johannesburg stories you have to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

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