Pulse Picks: African countries with the highest crime rates in 2023

The African continent is widely perceived by other parts of the globe as a hotbed for crime, owing to the prevalence of terrorism activities, deadly conflicts, armed robbery, sexual violence, ritual killings, and spousal murders, among various other incidents that occur with alarming frequency.

File photo: Armed criminals

Despite being comprised of fifty-two (52) countries, the criminal activities within some of these nations have collectively tarnished the image of the entire regional bloc, creating the impression of a continent engulfed in criminality.

However, it is important to note that while Africa is often labelled a crime scene, the nature and extent of criminal activities vary across the diverse countries, contingent on the unique circumstances prevailing in each. Acknowledging the universal reality that no country is entirely crime-free, the perception of a nation is shaped by the frequency of criminal occurrences, the effectiveness of authorities in bringing perpetrators to justice, and the measures in place to mitigate such activities.

As per data published by Statista, South Africa emerged as the top-ranked African nation in the 2023 crime index, boasting a score of 75.5 index points. Following closely is Somalia, securing the second position as the most dangerous nation on the African continent with a score of 66.7 points. Nigeria, often making headlines for various crimes, took the third spot with 65.8 points.

This data resulted from the assessment of individual nations' overall crime rates conducted by the index. Numerous African nations garnered scores between 60 and 80, indicative of high crime rates. A total of twenty-four (24) African countries were meticulously ranked, considering factors such as crime rates, law enforcement efficacy, and the perceived safety of citizens, among others.

While South Africa, Somalia, and Nigeria claim the top three spots, Tunisia, Ghana, and Rwanda find themselves in the bottom three, hinting at a lower crime rate and comparatively superior law enforcement in these countries.

South Africa stands out as particularly notorious among all African nations, as indicated by another survey conducted by the data platform Numbeo on the top ten (10) cities with the highest crime rates. In this survey, five South African cities dominated the top five positions. Numbeo's index is built on surveys from users of its website, which align with questions found in various scientific and governmental surveys.

Each survey response is assigned a numerical value between -2 and +2, with +2 denoting a significantly positive response and -2 indicating a strongly negative response. Numbeo filters surveys with numerous entries deviating from the median value to eliminate potential spam. The categorization defines very low crime as less than twenty, low crime as between twenty and forty, moderate crime as between forty and sixty, high crime as between sixty and eighty, and very high crime as above eighty.

Numbeo's worldwide crime ranking featured thirteen African cities, with the top five being located in South Africa. The following are the ten African cities with the highest crime rates.

In summary, while Africa faces challenges associated with crime, it is essential to recognize the variations between countries and avoid generalizations. By understanding the unique circumstances shaping crime rates, it becomes possible to address the root causes and work towards creating safer communities across the continent.


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