One of the main reasons South Africans are looking to leave the country is the staggering crime rate –particularly violent crime.
Opposition politicians have described the situation as “catastrophic” and warn that things are only getting worse. The latest SAPS crime statistics highlight how national government, and the police, are failing in the fight against violent crime.
In 2016, armed robberies were up 6.1% and car high jackings increased 14.9%.
“We live in fear of violent crime and most of us have either already been victims or have friends and family who have been,” says David, 38. “The fact that things are only getting worse is what’s driving me to look at my options in America.”
How does crime in the U.S. compare?
Violent crime in America has decreased dramatically over the last 25 years.
According to statistics from the FBI, violent crime decreased 50% between 1993 and 2015. Property crime over the same period decreased 48%. This is thanks to highly effective policing, and national intelligence, and significant progress in reducing structural and societal issues that lead to violent crime.
In 2015, there were fewer than 5 murders per 100 000 people in America – compared to 35 per 100 000 in South Africa.
Will crime affect my quality of life in America?
The short answer is most probably not.
“Crime does exist in America, but it’s not something that worries me in my day-to-day life,” says Kara, a resident of California, and mother of two young children.
Only around 15% of homes have alarm systems in America, and very few have the high walls and electric fences so commonplace in SA.
For South Africans, the sense of relief upon arriving in the U.S. can be overwhelming.
“I had no idea how liberating it would be to walk through a city, on my own, at night,” says Laura, who moved to America in 2009. “It took my husband a while to adjust to our new home, where we have no walls or barriers at all; people can literally walk right up to our front door, like you see in the movies. At first he used to jump up and check every time he heard noises outside, but after a year or so it finally dawned on him that we really don’t have to worry about that kind of crime anymore.”
“Yes, there are things I miss about SA, but the sense of freedom we have found in America is priceless. I’m so thankful my kids don’t have to hear stories at school about whose parents were highjacked, or whose family was held up at gunpoint in their home. Leaving SA wasn’t easy, but it was definitely the right decision for our family.”
With LCR’s EB-5 investment visa offering, you could apply now and get your green card in around 18 months. To find out more, look at our How It Works section.