Is Johannesburg Safe?
Background information about Johannesburg
Johannesburg is the biggest city in South Africa and the economic capital of Africa. The city is home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange which is Africa’s largest stock market. The ‘city of gold’ is the richest city in Africa with the highest concentration of high net worth individuals in Africa, but there is also a lot of inequality because the majority of the people in Johannesburg are poor just like the rest of South Africa. The city was formed during the gold rush in the 1800s and has since transformed from a tented camp to a modern city.
Culture in Johannesburg
Johannesburg is a fast city where many people from all over South Africa go to chase their dreams. It is the most representative city in South Africa where you can find all types of South Africans who speak the 11 official languages.
The Most dangerous suburbs in Johannesburg – No Go Areas
If you are not a local and are not familiar with Johannesburg you should avoid the Johannesburg CBD areas such as Hillbrow, Joubert Park and Berea as it is highly likely that you will get mugged.
Safest Suburbs in Johannesburg
Areas that are safer include Rosebank, Melrose, Sandton, Melville, Parktown, Fourways etc.
Safety tips to follow in Johannesburg
Johannesburg gets a bad rep from the media, but it is still the most visited city in Africa. There is crime in Johannesburg just like any big city in the world but it’s still a vibrant city worth visiting. Just like in any other major city there are areas that are safe to visit and areas that have a high crime rate, the onus is on you the person visiting the city to read up on places to avoid and precautions to take. Below we will share some safety precautions you can take so that your trip to Johannesburg is a happy one without incident.
Stick to tourist locations and avoid going to townships without guides.
Most of the crime happens in townships. There is extreme poverty in townships and it’s not advised that you go there alone as you will stand out and be an easy target. If you want to go to the township go with local friends or guides who know the area.
Do not walk when it’s dark, use Uber or your own hired vehicle.
Most crime happens at night if you walk around when it’s dark you may make yourself a target for opportunistic criminals.
Be careful of pickpockets especially in the busy streets and clubs
Pick-pocketing is common in crowded areas and clubs. Do not get too drunk on a night out lest you want to wake up without a phone. Put your phone inside your jacket pocket and not your pant pockets as it’s easier for pick-pocketers to steal your phone from your pants pocket.
Stick to busy streets on a night out, do not wander off to quiet streets.
If you are isolated in a quiet street you make it easy for criminals to target you. Stick to busy streets with other people and where there is a security and police presence.
Do not bring expensive Jewellery or show off expensive belongings as that will attract criminals.
The majority of people in South Africa are poor therefore avoid flaunting your wealth as it might make you a mugging target.
Be careful at ATMs when withdrawing cash, be vigilant and do not accept help from strangers at ATMs
There is a lot of credit card fraud and ATM fraud therefore always be vigilant whenever you are conducting transactions.
Tips for staying safe while driving in Johannesburg
Do not leave valuables in the car seat whether you are driving or leaving your car parked somewhere. This will attract criminals to break into your car.
Always place valuables in the trunk of the car where they are not visible to anyone outside the car.
Don’t drive around with your car unlocked just in case criminals try and force their way into your car when you stop at traffic lights or in traffic.
If you are driving around at night be aware of anyone moving around the car especially at traffic lights and keep your windows up.
Be aware of your surroundings when you are getting out of your car and returning to your car.
Make Copies of all travel documents
Before leaving home scan all travel documents and email them to yourself and have them in your mobile device just in case your travel documents get lost or stolen
Lock your luggage with a padlock to deter casual fingers
This may not deter a determined criminal but it may stop the opportunist from having easy access to your belongings at airports etc.
Avoid downtown Johannesburg especially at night – Stick to middle-class and upmarket neighbourhoods
Safer areas in Johannesburg include neighborhoods such as Maboneng, Sandton, Rosebank and Braamfontein and neighbourhoods to avoid include Johannesburg CBD(some sections are trendy and busy during the day but you should take caution) and Hillbrow.