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Urbanisation drives SA safety challenges

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A massive 71,3% of South Africa’s population will live in urban areas by 2030, and will continue to rise to nearly 80% by 2050.
South Africa’s urban population is also growing younger, with two-thirds of South African youth (18-35 year-olds) living in urban areas, and nearly 56% of those young people unemployed.
“This increase in concentration of people creates new demands, and presents new challenges on how to maintain an acceptable level of security and public safety,” says Steven Legae, marketing executive at Saab in South Africa. “Government and law enforcement’s need to maintain safety stability in communities, cities and municipalities relies heavily on evolving technology and trained, experienced individuals.”
The report states that the nine biggest cities in the country are home to about 40% of the country’s residents. However, these cities collectively record about half the amount of all homicides, two-thirds of aggravated robberies and three-quarters of vehicle thefts and car hijackings, meaning they experience a disproportionally high volume of crime.
“These statistics highlight that a growing urban population pose a massive risk to safety and security, and a strain on limited land and services,” says Legae. “It’s important that investors and businesses have a secure and predictable environment in which to operate, and that ordinary citizens are able to enjoy a safe quality of life.”
The report found that in the largest cities by population, three key crime hotspots were Phillippi East in Cape Town, KwaMashu in Durban and Hillbrow in Johannesburg. Addressing safety and security in these low-income, high-density areas calls for more than just increased police visibility — it needs a holistic approach that makes the best use of available resources.
Gathering, analysing and responding to existing data is crucial to dealing with the unique challenges of each of these high crime zones. By using the correct technology and tools, security agencies and emergency services can develop focused deterrence approaches, problem-oriented policing and targeted solutions.
“Criminals are currently using sophisticated methods to avoid discovery and arrest, and it is imperative for law enforcement agencies to acquire and keep updated with modern technology,” Legae says. “Saab provides sophisticated analyses, display and communication tools that can assist law enforcement agencies to be better equipped to run efficient cities and foster sustainable growth methods to curb crime and criminal activity in South Africa.”