The South African Police are sick and tired of being blamed for the crime, and when criminals are caught and released daily. The justice system has a successful conviction rate of less than ten percent.
One only has to look at the Oscar Pistorius debacle to see that when a murderer gets off with a rap on the knuckles, there is something very wrong with the justice system in South Africa.
Here is some wise words regarding crimes and justice and every South African citizen should take note of. Especially the part about the importance of reporting crimes so that stats are more accurate. Report crimes to your local SAPS- make sure you get a CAS number, and report the crime to your local CPF also so that the official SAPS crime stats are accurately audited by the CPF.
There is a degree of dishonesty with SA crime stats – the figures reported to the United Nations are lower than the actual crimes committed, so do not whine that SA is going to hell in a hand basket unless you are actively assisting in preventing this from happening
The fight against crime – and why we just can’t win
It’s a bold and unpopular statement but bear with me.
There are two simple realities to crime in our country that many people either don’t see or refuse to acknowledge.
Firstly, it’s migratory. Yes, it moves. If you hold a “clampdown” with unlimited resources in a fixed area, you can get close to a zero crime rate – while that presence is there. The question is – where does the offense go? Do the criminals suddenly pick up the local job finder and look for admin positions? Do they miraculously decide that their chosen profession is just too challenging and seek life elsewhere? No – they move to another area where the presence is lax and that areas crime rate goes up. Move those resources and the criminals come back.
Number two – it’s evolutionary. Crime evolves. Ten years ago car-jacking was the plague we contended with. Trackers and countermeasures became commonplace and quickly they started to decrease. Does this mean that the criminals who specialized in car-jackings left the market and got jobs? Nope. It means that they evolved to doing home invasions, where they could get the property, cash and the car with the keys at a similar or lower risk. Five years ago, housebreaking, where the entire house was emptied out, were quite the rage, alarms and sensors, beams, CCTV – all the countermeasures were brought into play. Again, the criminals didn’t enter the job market. They just evolved to crowbar crews were three or four work together and systematically plundered the high-value items from a home within minutes. Banks took measures to prevent bank robberies – remember when those were all the rage? Now the criminals just follow people from the banks and pounce when they reach their destination.
If we accept the above precepts, that crime moves and evolves – and agree that criminals hardly ever re-enter the regular job market – then where does that leave us? Are we fighting an impossible war? Is the reality that we just cannot come up with countermeasures as quickly as criminals can find new ways to get what they want? Does this mean we’re in for a lifetime of ongoing security upgrades to our homes and businesses?
It doesn’t mean that the war on crime is unwinnable. What it does mean is that we cannot win fighting it the way that we do now. We have to evolve in our mindset and approach as well. We have to accept that there is more to crime than policing and private security. We have to cast our attention to the justice system as a whole and consider the correctional services too. As a society, we need to make it our duty and our passion to either get involved in improving those areas or supporting those who do so.
When a criminal is caught and put behind bars – he needs to be reformed and then re-integrated into society, or he needs to stay there. THIS is the only way we can ever win the war on crime in SA. If we cannot stop them – which we really can’t because of migratory and evolutionary trends, then we have to incarcerate them until they’re reformed or keep them behind bars as their behavior has shown them unfit to be within a healthy society.
What can we as communities do? We have to report every crime committed. No matter how time-consuming or laborious, irrespective of how small the chances are of identifying the suspect we have to do it. This data is vital in establishing the trends and patterns as they change. Without proper reporting, the data becomes skewed. Insist on prosecution when suspects are caught and don’t leave it there – establish who the investigating officer is and get monthly updates on the progress of the matter. Have a representative from the community attend court as a voice of the community to talk to the court for or against bail and sentencing. Without a proper voice for the community, it’s too easy for criminals to slip through the net of the overburdened courts and get back out on the street.
Support organizations such as Nicro that work with offenders to reintegrate them into society when they’re released as functional members of communities with options other than to re-offend. Support their initiatives that work within troubled communities to tackle the base roots of where youngsters turn to crime.
Lobby your local councilors and representatives to apply pressure to the Department of Justice for harsher sentencing for offenses such as home invasions; we need more specialized courts that can fast-track drug cases and petty crimes so that the primary courts are free to apply themselves correctly to the more serious offenses. We require a strong lobbying of the courts by active communities for higher bail terms where a suspect is appearing on multiple charges – certainly, they are innocent until proven otherwise, but if there are 4-5 open cases against one suspect then the needs of the community should be taken into account.
Perhaps it is time for South Africa to adopt a three strikes rule as used in the USA, where a third conviction comes with a mandatory period of say six years imprisonment without the option of parole on top of the sentence for their third offense.
South Africa Today – South Africa News