World Cup crime fears ‘overblown’

The Australian High Commission in South Africa has deployed a number of mobile embassies to assist fans should they run in to trouble during the football World Cup.

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The vans will travel to the locations of each of the Australian matches.

With around 50 murders a day South Africa remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

But experts say the risks to visiting fans during this World Cup have been overblown.

Dr Johan Burger from the Institute for Security studies in Pretoria closely monitors the trends when it comes to crime in South Africa.

He says the country is actually much safer than it was during the Cricket World Cup in 2003.

“Not long ago after the murder of the AWB leader some English tabloid warned that English supporters will be killed in their thousands by machete wielding black people when they come to South Africa,” Dr Burger told SBS.

“All of this is extremely out of proportion with the facts”.

But Australian High Commissioner Ann Harrap says street crime and car hi-jacking remain a significant problem here, which is why the Australian High Commission is deploying these mobile embassies to the locations of each Australian game.

“There are lots of similarities between South Africa and Australia but there also different challenges here and we want Australians to be well prepared and well informed about some of those challenges,” she told SBS.

The Australian fans already appear to be relatively relaxed about those challenges.

“It was in the back of the mind before we came out but last night coming from the airport to our hotel we saw so many police it wasn’t funny some analysts fear a terror attack more than widespread criminal activity during the World Cup,” Socceroos fan Damon Gillard said.

“The police here have been training for every eventuality, and they are confident that they have covered all the bases”.

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