Step up, South Africa

Source: by Africa Check in NEWS featured in www.thesouthafrican.com.

“Crime anywhere and everywhere is a problem. In SA it is a major problem. BUT before we start wagging a finger at the Government and slagging off the SAPS regarding the recently released stats there are some behind the scene facts that we need to remember.

First, the job of the Government is to ensure we have a good, properly equipped police force with the wherewithal to enforcethe law. We have approx. 190 000 employees of SAPS, that is one policeman per 300 citizens, in the US the equivalent ratio is 1:380 and in the UK it is 1:400. The UN recommendation is 1:400. Our numbers are good, but…

The obvious question is: despite our more favourable police to population ratio in SA are the police doing a proper job, can they be trusted? We all have different experiences in that regard, but the generally ‘bad’ stories predominate.

Second, 85% of the victims of violent crime know their attackers by name, and 60% of the victims of an attack are guilty of substance abuse at the time of the attack. We have a very considerable domestic violence and substance abuse problem, unusually high by global standards.

Clearly we can’t put a policeman in every home or in every shebeen / pub to prevent these horrendous levels of violence.

BUT, we, as citizens can step up to the plate in terms of our role in preventing crime. Sadly, many of us don’t; we bribe, we drink and drive, we shoot traffic lights, we speed. We don’t respect the law to the extent that we should.

Against that background we should read the stats below.

Steuart Pennington

This factsheet provides an overview of murder and robbery trends between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 as recorded by the South African Police Service

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By now, you’ve heard about the latest South African crime stats released on Tuesday. They make for pretty grim reading. So grim that an opposition MP has called the murder rate “something you would expect from a country at war“.  This fact sheet provides an overview.