Crime and safety
The truth about safety is a shifting reality. A lot of opportunistic crime takes place in dense city neighbourhoods and in suburban neighbourhoods, where homes are targeted. You’ll notice the ubiquitous guard huts, electric fencing and private-security patrol cars in the wealthier northern suburbs, and the razor wire in less affluent areas. Over the years people have become unselfconscious about adding security features to their homes.
Our advice is to be aware rather than paranoid. As in any other modern metropolis, you need to use your head, know where you’re going, and not flash your cash or valuables around. Consult a local to get a heads-up, but walk away if they’re the type to tell you that the city is a no-go area – you have just chosen the wrong local.
When you plan your first walk around the inner-city, consider a tour with one of the many knowledgeable guides who offer them, or try a City Sightseeing Red Bus hop-on, hop-off tour to get the lay of the land.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, lock up valuables in the room or hotel safe
- When driving, always keep valuables in the boot of the car rather than on the passenger seat. Keep the windows up and the doors locked
- Don’t leave valuable items visible in a parked car
- Don’t stroll down a street talking on your cellphone
- Pay attention to what is going on around you
- Don’t show off expensive jewellery, watches or cameras
- Never accept help from strangers at an ATM
- Opt for using an ATM inside a bank or mall
- Areas such as Alexandra, Hillbrow, Yeoville and Joubert Park should only be visited with a tour guide