Crime-Ravaged Nation Turns To Private Security Over Govt. Cops

The most developed nation in Africa, South Africa, has one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime, with an average of 75 murders and 400 robberies every day. The private security business in South Africa is flourishing, and experts say the government is losing the fight against crime. In contrast to the less than 150,000 police officers for every 62 million people, the country’s private security business has over 2.7 million registered personnel, making it one of the biggest in the world.

Private security firms earn a monthly fee by patrolling areas and responding armed to their customers’ alarm systems. Additionally, they engage in high-speed pursuits of automobile hijackers and thieves due to their monitoring and vehicle recovery services. While the number of registered security professionals in South Africa has climbed by 44% over the previous decade, security firms have grown by 43%.

The fact that only the country’s wealthiest citizens can afford private security guards is just one more illustration of the extreme inequality that plagues South Africa. Even now, most South Africans have no choice but to put their faith in a police department that is both understaffed and underfunded. There are more private security guards than public safety officers and military personnel put together (580,000). No one is ever entirely protected, not even those with private security.

After falling dramatically for a while, violent crime in South Africa has recently increased. South Africa had a murder rate of 45 per 100,000 in 2022–2023, far higher than the US average of 6.3 and the majority of European nations’ rates of around 1. According to the police, 10,000 more policemen will be put into service beginning in 2024 to change the trend. The legal standing of the newly appointed crime wardens has been a point of contention for local government officials in Johannesburg and the rest of Gauteng province.