Durban has been named one of the most dangerous cities in the world to live in.

It is one of six South African cities listed in a global top 20 most dangerous cities.

While Caracas in Venezuela takes first place as the most dangerous city in the world, followed by Port Moresby in New Guinea, the Crime Index by City 2021, conducted by statistics website Numbeo.com, places Pretoria in third place, followed by Durban in fourth place, Johannesburg in fifth place, Pietermaritzburg in seventh place, while Port Elizabeth is ranked 14th and Cape Town 19th.

Other cities perceived as dangerous, such as Damascus in Syria, are ranked 31st, Baghdad in Iraq 55th and Bogota in Colombia 58th.

On the other side of the scale, Abu Dhabi was ranked as the safest city in the world, while Dubai and Sharjah, also in the United Arab Emirates, were placed in the top ten, along with Doha in Qatar, Geneva in Switzerland, Taipei in Taiwan and Quebec City, Canada.

Numbeo, which conducts surveys worldwide on quality of life, cost of living, crime index and real estate costs, said the Crime Index By City 2021 survey is a perception index based on respondents’ feelings rather than crime statistics.

It said the questions for the survey were similar to many scientific and government surveys and were filtered to eliminate potential spam. It added that the survey was “a snapshot of the current indexes at a point in time.”

“To create a current index, we use data that is up to 36 months old. We only consider cities for which there are at least a certain number of entries. The crime index is an estimate of the overall level of crime in a particular city or county, he said.

“We consider crime levels below 20 to be very low, crime levels between 20 and 40 to be low, crime levels between 40 and 60 to be moderate, crime levels between 60 and 80 to be high, and finally crime levels above 80 to be very high,” it said.

In the survey results, Pretoria’s crime index was 81.94, Durban’s was 80.84, Johannesburg’s was 80.65 and Pietermaritzburg’s was 79.73.

Bianca de B**r of DialDirect, which issued the global survey, said her own research into crime trends during the level three curfew suggests that some criminals are taking advantage of the 9 p.m. curfew to increase their activities.

De B**r said her research showed an increase in car thefts in the evening between 4 p.m. and 5 a.m. the next morning, while residential burglaries and robberies, which typically occurred between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. before curfew, shifted to between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. this year.

“Authorities keep reminding us that Covid-19 is not on vacation. This investigation shows us that criminals are not on vacation either. People must remain vigilant and take all safety precautions to avoid becoming a crime statistic,” De B**r said.

As an example of the scale of brazen crime in South Africa, the managing director of driving school company MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, highlighted a video clip making the rounds on social media showing a new kidnapping technique in which the kidnappers target the victim on an exit ramp by blocking her from the front.

“The driver was blocked by the kidnapper’s car driving ahead of her, and soon by traffic behind her,” he said.

“An important way to avoid getting into this situation is to make sure that when you are standing, you keep at least three feet between you and the car in front of you. Granted, in the video clip, it would have been difficult to move around the hijackers, as their position appears to be carefully chosen, but in many cases, it could give you the space to move quickly and safely.

“Swerving quickly around a car that stops unexpectedly in front of you can make all the difference. When driving, accept that someone who suddenly stops in this manner may pose a threat and that your best response is to immediately drive around the obstacle. Prepare for and practice such a situation so you can react immediately,” Herbert said.

Meanwhile, Tracker’s vehicle crime statistics for the period from July to December 2020 showed a 13% decrease in reported vehicle crime nationwide, but highlighted that hijackings “remain widespread.” Tracker has 1.1 million vehicles on its base, and their numbers show that auto theft is down 21%, but hijacking is down only 5% during the period, with hijacking accounting for more crimes than motor vehicle theft.

Tracker data also suggests that there may be an opportunistic element at play, as the number of vehicles targeted for their cargo, particularly fast-moving consumer goods, has increased significantly, while drivers carrying large amounts of cash are also being targeted.

Most vehicles were reported hijacked or stolen toward the end of the week, with most hijackings reported between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Thefts from motor vehicles occurred between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Ron Knott-Craig, Tracker’s director of operational services, said the 13% drop in vehicle crime was due to fewer vehicles on the road compared to the previous year because of Covid 19 restrictions.

“It’s important that we don’t become complacent. Be alert to your surroundings while driving. Be alert and on the lookout for suspicious people and vehicles, and avoid distractions such as talking on the phone,” he said.

Source: iolIndependent on Saturday