Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Personal security concerns are extremely serious and must be factored in to daily life. This place would be perfect if not for the crime, but the threat really is exhausting and stressful. This is a whole society that is stressed out by the threat of violence at every turn; DC feels relaxing compared to Pretoria in terms of crime. I have not seen a high degree of responsiveness when concerns are reported. Local police are sometimes competent, sometimes completely ineffective. Corruption is a factor. You do not want to breakdown on the side of the road here, anywhere. - Jan 2020

Crime is still an issue. We don't let our children wonder around (malls, restaurants, etc) out of our sight. Lots of house robberies in the neighborhood. Be careful who you let into your house for work, maintenance, cleaning. During the day, it's safe to walk the dog, go for a run, and (local) children ride bikes without parents around. - Dec 2019

Definitely. Most expats live the way that well-off South Africans do: in fortified compounds, surrounded by electric fences, with alarms, gates, and security guards. We have never had a break-in but many people have. A lot of the crime is violent — it’s shootings and carjackings more than pickpocketing. We have seen a few smash-and-grabs and two guns being waved around; several of our neighbors have had break-ins. The embassy houses are very secure (better than the norm) assuming you are prudent and keep doors locked, alarms on, etc. As a result of all this security, it is rare to see/meet our neighbors casually — most residents don’t walk on the streets and you don’t just bump into them. - Mar 2019

This is a high crime post. You will have gates and security at your house that seem like Fort Knox. I do not feel safe leaving a door open, even when I am home. I would not walk anywhere after dark. - Jun 2018

Personal security concerns are the primary drawback to life here. Violent crime has surged. We live amid bars, barbed wire, guards and alarms and follow the Regional Security Officer's guidance every day. I don't go hiking alone, and I don't hike with a friend unless I know for sure the venue is secure. I never walk in the neighborhood after dark. This factor will be a big thing in your life here. You can manage it, but you can't avoid it. - Jan 2018

Poverty is very obvious here and with that comes people who will do what they need to survive. There is also a mindset here that if you have "it," you should give to those who don't have "it," therefore you need to be mindful of where you are and what is going on around you. This place is really no different than any major city in the U.S. but I would say that you need to avoid certain areas because the crime rates here are higher than most U.S. cities. - Oct 2014

Yes. Things are very nice here and the crime rate has dropped, but there are still break-ins and carjackings. Expats are not targeted, but things happen. This doesn't stop us from going out, but no one stays out too late at night and we all live in fortresses with electric fences and alarm systems. - Jun 2012

Always a concern, day-to-day patterns change, people should be alert (on edge) all the time. The security concerns make it a drive-around city, with few places to walk around (the mall, botanical garden, etc.). One can also walk around the safer neighborhoods in early morning and evening. If you are somewhat alert all the time, and observe all the security precautions, you should be fine. - Dec 2009

Yes, of course. But I've lived in other places where the security is just as bad or worse and the other quality of life factors can't compare. There are no guarantees anywhere anymore, are there?In South Africa, follow the RSO guidelines, be aware, and don't put yourself out as a target (keep your purse hidden in the car, don't leave your cell phone lying around, etc.).We feel great peace of mind by having dogs at our house. - Aug 2009

Crime is very real here. There is everything from crimes of opportunity to home invasions that result in murders and rapes. You must always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions on entering and leaving your home or while about town. Homes are equipped with alarm systems linked to local security companies, barred windows, electric fences and safe havens. If you believe you can't function in this type of high crime environment or are especially fearful of becoming a victim of crime, this is not the place for you. - Feb 2009

Yes. Security is a major problem. Crime is random and violent. - Oct 2008

Violent, random, and senseless crime. People are killed over a cell phone here. ATM machines are routinely blown up and cash in transit vehicles are commonly attacked. Thieves frequently are armed with automatic weapons. Security can make a difference, but everyone is a potential victim. It is safer in the small towns and in the countryside. South Africa is the rape capital of the world. - Sep 2008

Violent crime is a big problem, but for U.S. Embassy families, RSO has installed electric fences; many are moving to compounds; Embassy is using armed patrol guards and 24-hour guards on the compounds. Yes, crime is definitely an issue, but with the right attitude and security stance, you can live a normal, enjoyable life. - Jun 2008

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