Risky localities: Exploring a methodology for measuring socio-economic characteristics of high murder areas

  • Lizette Lancaster Institute for Security Studies
  • Ellen Kamman Institute for Security Studies
Keywords: murder, crime analysis, crime statistics, crime hotspots


Every day on average, more than 49 people are murdered in South Africa. A better understanding of the demographics of locations with high murder and other crime rates could assist in the development of effective initiatives to effectively reduce our murder rate. It provides the foundations on which to build research into the impact of social cohesion on violence reduction. This article explores the hypothesis that the risk for murder is associated with certain demographic characteristics of particular locations. This paper proposes a method to analyse the demographic characteristics of police precincts in relation to the murder rate for that police precinct. It provides an explanation of the method used and a summary of initial results. The paper concludes with a discussion on the benefits of this research approach and considerations for future research as well as the need for more indepth analysis on social cohesion.

Author Biographies

Lizette Lancaster, Institute for Security Studies

Manager: Crime and Justice Information Hub,

Governance, Crime and Justice

Ellen Kamman, Institute for Security Studies
Independent Data Analyst
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