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British citizens traveling to South Africa have been cautioned about the occurrence of ‘smash and grab’ assaults targeting vehicles.
The Foreign Office published new travel guidance on Friday, November 10, which emphasized the prevalence of crime in the area, including car thefts, thefts from vehicles, home invasions, sexual assault, and homicide.
According to new information released by Statistics South Africa, there has been a noticeable increase in household crimes during the 2022/23 timeframe.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) warns that acts of violence can occur in any location, including popular tourist spots and transportation centers.
“Major cities often see an increase in violent crimes in their surrounding townships or remote locations. The risk is greater in the central business districts compared to the suburbs, particularly at night.”
Nevertheless, it states that “the likelihood of visitors being victims of violent crime in major tourist destinations is typically minimal. Furthermore, there are typically extra security personnel present in these areas who can provide assistance to tourists.”
The revised recommendation also includes extra details about the less safe zones near international airports in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The recommendation states: “Crime can occur at the airport and its surroundings, such as theft and robbery of luggage and valuable items.”
There have been reports of individuals being tracked from OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg to their final destinations, where they are then subjected to robbery, often at gunpoint.
The recommendation is to exercise caution when using GPS navigation, and to refrain from using alternative routes that may lead to less safe areas.
Furthermore, it is advised to use the M3 and N2 routes when traveling to and from Cape Town International Airport, and to avoid the R300 and R310 (Baden Powell) between Muizenberg and the N2 intersection if possible.
The FCDO recommends ways to safeguard your personal safety while traveling, such as hiding valuable items, using trustworthy public transportation, remaining vigilant when approached by strangers, refraining from walking alone at night, and traveling with companions when feasible.