The US state department warned its citizens to “exercise increased caution” in South Africa due to crime‚ civil unrest and drought – a day after police revealed the latest crime statistics.

“Violent crime‚ such as armed robbery‚ rape‚ carjacking‚ mugging‚ and ‘smash-and-grab’ attacks on vehicles‚ is common‚” a travel advisory warned on September 12.

“There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark. Demonstrations‚ protests‚ and strikes occur frequently. These can develop quickly without prior notification‚ often interrupting traffic‚ transportation‚ and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.”

US citizens travelling to SA were urged to “avoid walking alone‚ especially after dark”‚ avoid visiting informal settlements‚ drive with doors locked and windows closed‚ conserve water and have a contingency plan for emergency situations.

Travellers were also urged to read a detailed crime report on SA.

Crime statistics for 2017/18 which were released on Tuesday recorded 20‚336 murders in SA – an average of 56 a day.