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Crime – The Disease in Need of a Cure

Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2012-11-12

Crime... A word that has injected a lethal dose of fear into the hearts of South Africans. It has robbed and snatched away our will to roam our neighbourhoods and shopping centers and ravaged our freedom, ripping it to shreds…

Crime is a prominent issue in South Africa. The country has an extraordinarily high rate of murders, assaults, rapes (adult, child and infant), and other crimes compared to most countries. Most emigrants from South Africa state that crime was a big factor in their decision to leave.

The reasons for South Africa’s high crime rate is a topic of anguished debate. Apartheid’s brutal legacy, high unemployment and poverty, gaping social inequality and the abuse of alcohol and drugs are all cited.

So is crime out of control? Are the police effective in their duties in curbing crime?

There is a difference in opinion where some may be in the affirmative that the police are effective in their duties and than there are those who are of the opinion and say the police force is littered with corruption and corrupt police officers. This notion is debatable and a whole force cannot be judged on the actions of a few rotten eggs. However the majority think that we are fighting a losing battle against criminals. So what do we do to ensure that we win back our right to live without the fear of being another crime statistic?

Education is crucial: Recent research shows that those who earn the basic school-leaving certificate are six times less likely to commit a crime than those who don’t. Criminal syndicates, often run by foreigners, are rife.

Lenasia and Lenasia South are such suburbs where crime has spiked in recent times. You dare not step out of your home with jewelry, cellphones or handbags! But rather with flack jackets and pray that you make it back safe and sound to your home. This may seem extreme and drastic, but in the recent spate of crimes in these areas, criminals heinously commit the crime with little or no remorse and fail to leave witnesses resulting in many lives being lost for something as meager as a theft of a cellphone.

The Lenasia CBD is always abuzz with a hive of activity by shoppers and residents. In their wake you get a parade of facaded and scrupulous people ready to pounce on unsuspecting and innocent victims that are just going about their errands.

Hijackings, house breakings, armed robberies; chain and cellphone snatchings in the CBD has plagued the picturesque suburb. Gunshots break the eerie dead of night frequently, instilling fear and panic in those that lie in bed trying to get peaceful nights sleep. Truth is, we are not safe even from municipal workers, where in certain cases criminals posed as electricity and water employees.

Even with visible sector policing, armed responses, car guards, criminals are daring to take chances. They are as bold as can be, and go where no criminals has gone before…Attacking in broad daylight!

It’s good and well that some people barricade themselves behind high walls lined with razor sharp barbed wire or electrified fences that resemble unpenetrable fortresses like Sun City Prison or Alcatraz or arm their homes with the latest security equipment. But what about the less fortunate, those who don’t have the affordability or means to take refuge behind electrified fences or barbed wired high walls or arm their homes with alarms and security protocols?

What about those that leave South Africa and seek refuge in other countries? Crime is prevalent all over the world, and although not as rife as in South Africa, it still lurks ready to strike a blow, just ask Mark Fish when he was robbed in the United Kingdom.* The grass may be greener on the other side, but it takes a lot more manure to maintain it.

Sure we need to protect ourselves and take precaution, but we can’t hide forever and we can’t be scared. Seneca once said, “He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.”

We need to be proactive in our communities and fight this crime demon and exorcise it once and for all. We won’t totally enjoy a crime ridden community, but we can transform and mold it, so that we can enjoy the freedom of our beautiful country that we fought for so long. As Mandela once said,” it always seems impossible until it’s done.”

We can all make a difference if we stand together and fight the criminal elements of society, as there is no honour amongst thieves. And if we win this war…we can leave a legacy and a peaceful sanctuary that the future generation can be proud of.

Just as there are many reasons why people do not call the South African Police Service (SAPS) to report a crime or suspicious activity, there are better reasons why people should make the call and thereby take an active part in providing information to the police.

Why it is important to report crime:

People often think it’s not their business to report crime.
They don’t want to accuse someone without evidence.
They are lacking substantial information or they don’t have proof.
Always remember that it is the police, not private citizens, who will do the investigation.
In the course of an investigation, police officers/ detectives will act on a statement made by a witness but an arrest is unlikely without additional statements, information and corroborating evidence.
In addition you can remain anonymous if there is a fear of reprisal.
Another reason to report crime is so that the same burglars do not return to burglarise your home or family.
The harder you make it for the burglar or criminal, the less likely you’ll be the next victim.
By providing information on a crime that could lead to an arrest, you make it harder for the burglar to perpetuate the same crime.
Your information is part of the bigger puzzle being put together, along with the information supplied by others.
While you have no way of knowing if your part may be the piece that links all the other bits of information together to solve the crime, every piece of information, no matter how small, is important.
Every witness has a different perspective on a crime and everyone’s observation is equally important.
When you don’t get involved, you create a negative situation of lasting consequence – crime is allowed to perpetuate.
If you don’t trust and act on your intuition, you’re allowing criminals to get away with their crime.
Criminals often repeat their crimes, with some becoming more and more brutal each time.
Not reporting what you know can result in the criminal perpetuating an even bigger crime or one that has dire consequences.
To help turn a bad situation into a good one, report the crime to your local police station anonymously on 08600 10111; or SMS 32211 or on their website www.crimeline.co.za

There is a simple way to solve the crime problem: obey the law; punish those who do not.” Rush Limbaugh

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