Crime and Spatiality in South African Cities

  • Gregory D. BreetzkeEmail author
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL)


The urban environment in which crime occurs plays an important role in shaping criminal behaviour. While space on its own explains little, the spatial patterning of urban crime is key to understanding and explaining its development and proliferation in society. South Africa is a country crippled with high levels of urban crime. Explanations provided for these high crime levels are myriad but tend to focus on the nations’ rising levels of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, among numerous others. While these explanations have enhanced researchers’ understanding of crime in the country, few are cognisant of the spatio-social design of South African cities; a consequence of apartheid-era urban geography. This is a shortcoming of previous explanations since urban spatiality plays a vital role in understanding the risk factors for crime, as well as their consequences. In this book chapter I highlight the important role that geography plays in explicating crime in South Africa and identify numerous spatially-based risk factors for crime. Various consequences of urban crime are provided, and specific policy recommendations made that emphasize the role that urban geography can play in combating crime in the country.


Crime Urban spatiality South Africa Environmental criminology 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and MeteorologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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