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Fri May 27 20:14:52 SAST 2016

Cape Town shoots down violence rating

Aron Hyman | 28 January, 2016 00:41
Smith said the research included only cities for which accurate statistics were available. File photo
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

A survey rating Cape Town the world's ninth-most violent city has been shot down.

Institute for Security Studies senior researcher Johann Burger questioned the methodology of the survey and City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said it was "not remotely accurate".

A Mexican NGO, the Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, ranked the 50 most-violent cities in the world by the number of murders per 100 000 people last year.

Cape Town had 2451 murders in a population of 3.74 million - a rate of 65.53 per 100000. This is almost double the rate in Durban (35.9) and Port Elizabeth (35.85). Johannesburg had 1344 murders in a population of 4.43 million - a rate of 30.31 per 100000.

Burger said the study's methodology was suspect.

"We feel they are trying to prove that Mexican cities aren't that bad by relating them to big tourist cities such as Cape Town."

Smith said the research included only cities for which accurate statistics were available.

"Some of the most violent and dangerous cities in the world neither keep nor publish reliable statistics so [the Mexican study] is only comparing the better countries - those that are better-resourced, have functioning justice systems and keep accurate stats."

He said the report relied on police crime statistics, which were unreliable because figures from some police stations were omitted "to reduce the impression of serious crime".

Western Cape community safety spokesman Ewald Botha said the high murder rate in the province could be attributed to the proliferation of gangs and gang violence.

"The crime realities many people in the Western Cape are facing daily are due to inefficient visible policing, police resource shortages and a generally insufficient response to gang- and drug-related crimes," said Botha.

Of the 50 cities on the list, 21 are in Brazil, eight in Venezuela, five in Mexico, four in South Africa, four in the US, three in Colombia and two in Honduras.

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