It is now becoming the practice of residential Cape property buyers to check the crime statistics in any area or village to which they are thinking of moving, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group, and this is not difficult these days because information services, like Crime Stats SA, provide up-to-date year-on-year figures.
Which Cape areas, therefore, can today be regarded as reasonably safe?
“The sad truth”, says Rawson, “is that if one takes the burglary of residential premises (as opposed to burglary with aggravating circumstances) as a guideline, almost every Cape Town suburb has its share of problems. In 2013 the number of burglaries, on average, in Cape Peninsula suburbs fluctuated between 200 and 800. Simon’s Town fared relatively well, with only 199 burglaries during that period and Camps Bay seems to have been particularly well protected because it had only 107. These two precincts, therefore, are definitely some of the safest areas available to buyers wanting to move into the Cape Peninsula.”
At the other end of the scale, says Rawson, Mitchells Plain had 1,702 burglaries, Milnerton had 795 (mostly in its low cost northern areas), Grassy Park, 725 and Somerset West, 841.
Before being too unimpressed by these figures, says Rawson, they should be taken in context. Somerset West, for example, has nearly four times as many homes as Camps Bay and its burglary figures are therefore not too serious.
In general, says Rawson, the further away from the Cape Town CBD the homes are situated, the less they are troubled by crime. In 2013, Clanwilliam, for example, had only 52 home burglaries, Elands Bay 14 (admittedly it has a very small population) and Paarl had 308 burglaries, a low figure considering the size of this town and of its informal settlements.
For many people, says Rawson, the figures relating to robbery with aggravating circumstances will be the most relevant. Mitchells Plain had 1,276 robberies of this type and stands out as a very volatile and troubled area. Once again Simon’s Town, with only 14 violent robberies, looks a very safe place – as does Langebaan with only 10 robberies of this kind.
It is sometimes said, adds Rawson, that central Cape Town, because of its high standard of living and predominantly middle class residents, is today one of the safe areas in which to live. This, he says, is probably true of the multi-unit sectional title schemes, but the statistics for central Cape Town reveal that 828 burglaries took place here in 2013, with a further 367 burglaries with aggravating circumstances.
Constantia, says Rawson, with its large vulnerable properties often well separated from each other, is sometimes said to be under serious threat. However as its crime figures on Crime Stats SA’s website are linked in with those of Wynberg and Diep River, they cannot be relied on to be good indicators. What is true, he says, is that any estate agent selling in Constantia can affirm confidently that very few other suburbs in the Cape are as well provided with security patrols and security equipment, and the residents here have proved particularly adept at thwarting crime.