Bheki Cele, minister of police. (Netwerk24)
  • Most murders took place in public places, new crime data shows.
  • This includes streets, parks and beaches.
  • Meanwhile, 187 people died while in transit on a bus or taxi.
  • One of the least likely places for murder in South Africa is prison.
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In South Africa, you’re more likely to get murdered in the street or at a park than you are in your home, at a hotel, or in prison. This is according to the latest police crime statistics, for the period January to March 2021, released by police minister Bheki Cele last week.

The statistics reveal the places where the most murders occurred during that period. Topping the list for places where the most murders occurred were public spaces, with 2,378 murders during that period.

This includes streets, open fields, recreational centres, parks, beaches, parking areas, or abandoned buildings.

The second biggest location for murders were the homes of victims or their killers, including a residences known the victim or perpetrator, like a friend or neighbour’s house. According to the statistics, 1,327 people were killed in such places over the three month period.

The third most dangerous place for South Africans, at least between January and March, was when they were in transit: 187 people died while on a bus, plane, boat, or ship, or in a taxi, or car.

Liquor outlets like shebeens, pubs or nightclubs were another high-risk area, but less so: 118 people were killed their during the period studied.

Business premises, like malls, restaurants, their work place, office parks, movie theatres or other entertainment centres were similarly high risk, at 109 murders.

The statistics show that 84 people were killed on agricultural land like farms or small holdings, while 58 people died at public transport premises like bus stops or train stations. A further 29 were murdered in a sea, river, pool or dam, while 15 were killed at petrol stations.

An alarming 14 people were killed at educational institutions like schools, universities or day care facilities, while 13 were killed in mining areas.

One of the places you’re least likely to be murdered at in South Africa is prison. Just 8 murders took place in SA’s jails from January to March. And you’re safest, murder-wise, at a leisure premises, like a hotel or resort: just three people died at these facilities.

How murder victims die

The quarterly statistics also reveal the presumed underlying circumstances, as captured in police records if not yet determined by a court, around murders.

Those show that you are more likely to be murdered over a simple misunderstanding than during a home robbery. Arguments or misunderstanding, not related to domestic violence but including road rage or provocation, were the biggest stated reasons behind murders in SA.

Robberies, including robberies in the home, business or street, came in a distant second, with 341 murders. This was followed closely by vigilantism or mob justice, which was the third biggest cause of murders (298 cases).

Gang-related violence was the cause of 236 murders, while revenge was behind 97 cases, and taxi-related violence caused 88 murders.

Police or security guards in the line of duty were the cause of 34 deaths, while carjackings, rape and illicit mining were the lowest causes of murders.

How you're likely to be murdered in SA
Where you're likely to be murdered in SA

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