Statistics of Trail Safety in Western Cape & SA

I think everyone has been unnerved by the reports of violent crimes on Table Mountain (see links to news agencies at bottom). Followed by the report of muggers targeting 60 year old retiree’s in George. Then there’s the reports that rarely make the news, such as a friend who joined an online informal gathering of individuals for a hike to be robbed by fellow ‘hiking enthuasiast’ (not affiliated with accredited organizations). In lieu of this, I went hunting for proper stats on the subject to see what exactly is going on… Are these isolated incidents or an increase in civil unrest linked to the protests that have closed some NR?

So in my search I came upon the following…
Safety Statistics:

IOL news reported on the rapid uptake of crime (see diagram) on Table Mountain during 2018 and in response several groups have begun to mobilize in order to curb similar attacks. These attacks are alarming, but considering that TMNP receives thousands of visitors annually, there should not be widespread panic. Unfortunately, the stats seem to be source-dependent…For example SAMA only lists 65 incidents in 2018-2019 related to crime.

So how does one keep track of what is happening and where hotspots for crime…This is hard to say…Obviously Cape Nature posts on facebook in the event of protest action and news agencies list areas to be avoided. As the vast majority of cases occur on Table Mountain, (Newlands, Constantia Nek, Silvermine, Signal Hill, Lions head) anywhere with easy access to transportation seems to be a target. Off the beaten track areas seem to be opportunistic robberies rather than premeditated ambushes. I realize that the MCSA and Nature reserves rely heavily on the support of hikers/naturalists and would rather not report on safety issues. That said, I think allowing a quick access link to reports, such as a live tweet feed or instagram link would put hikers at ease. I would rather know than not know, but what is everyone else opinion regarding this? Is something similar already available and I just haven’t found it yet?

Nature reserve protests:

Violent Crime on Table Mountain:

George Outeniqua mugging:

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Thanks fir the link. Im going to CT in Wednesday and planning a hike at chapmans peak. I would so far haven’t seen any crime reported from it. Anyone planning to hike chapmans peak?

There was one report of a mugging. The hikers took the route from chapmans peak dr rather than through the reserve. It is a beautiful hike though with the best view you could imagine. Definitely one of my fav.

Do you know of anyone doing a hike during easter weekend at chapmans peak that i could join?

Thanks for this, @Gerda. I am only really familiar with mountain crime in the Magaliesberg, the Drakensberg and the Cape Peninsula so cannot comment on other regions but I have been keenly following developments particularly on the Peninsula. Stats are absolutely tricky to compile. I assume most come from SAPS reported crimes but still, numbers often don’t add up. Equally unusual is the geography of crimes and the shifts - on the Peninsula for many years the northern areas of TMNP were a hotspot - Devils Peak, University Estate and Lions Head/Signal Hill. This shifted to the south between 2015 and 2018 but with quite a lot of amazing intervention from various roleplayers, that has quietened down and it appears to be mostly shifting back to the north.

I and two others are about to release a hiking/trail running/MTB trails app… and one of the most amazing things with the system we are using is that changes can be made to the app/map within seconds. So if someone reports a crime we could theoretically have an update for an area or a notification within a minute. Unfortunately for this we need buy-in from SANParks, CapeNature etc and will need to be able to finance this. I would love to chat to anyone regarding this and with a vested interest in mountain safety.

@Milan Since it is easter weekend the trails should be very busy and I doubt you will feel unsafe. I am not in CT over the weekend, but if your looking for a buddy it is best to contact an organisation such as MCSA. The large amount of members should contain one or two willing to help out.