Nicro News

NICRO Responds to Crime Stats indicating South Africans are Under Siege

The recent release of the crime statistics report, which details crime levels in South Africa between April 1, 2016 and March 31 this year, has once again solicited mixed reactions from Government, political parties and civil society.

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The recent release of the crime statistics report, which details crime levels in South Africa between April 1, 2016 and March 31 this year, has once again solicited mixed reactions from Government, political parties and civil society.

Although the downturn in certain categories of crime has been welcomed, grave concern has been expressed about the increase in contact crimes for the fourth consecutive year.

The increase in violent crimes such as murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery in addition to property crime categories which include carjacking, robbery at residential premises and robbery at non-residential premises, has attracted severe criticism from many quarters. The release of the crime statistics has resulted in renewed appeals for a harsher, more punitive response to escalating crime, with the National Freedom Party Member of Parliament Ahmed Shaik even suggesting that the reintroduction of the death penalty should be considered.

NICRO finds the growing calls to “bring in the army” particularly disconcerting. “This kneejerk reaction to murder, rape and the high levels of violence, which continues to place our citizens under siege, is not the answer”, says CEO Soraya Solomon. Solomon underscores that if the root causes of crime are not addressed, South Africa will undoubtedly lose its battle in the fight to reduce crime.

“Based on the high number of children being violated and even murdered, it is evident that in many cases, the perpetrator is known to the family. The violence in South African society is further compounded by high levels of substance abuse, dysfunctional families, idle youth who no development opportunities and a highly challenged police force,” Solomon continues.

Civil society organisations are closing their doors or downscaling because of the lack of resources. This will inevitably result in a weakened civil society without the means of dealing with the multitude of social ills that cause crime. Resources are not matched to the magnitude of the problem South Africa currently faces. NICRO is firm in its belief that the focus should be on preventing crime to break this vicious cycle. “NICRO, which celebrates a proud history of 107 years as a leader in the fight against crime, has been forced to cut back on its services because of a debilitating financial crisis. There are many other civil society organisations that find themselves in the same predicament. There has to be the political will to match the resources necessary to address the magnitude of the problem,” Solomon warns.

Drug and alcohol abuse is rife in many South African communities yet the facilities which are desperately needed to bring about effective rehabilitation are greatly limited. Vast numbers of young people who need help to overcome addiction cannot afford to access support and intervention, and thus the cycle continues unabated.

On the political front, high levels of corruption and a leadership crisis are the order of the day. Without effective, ethical and morally bound leaders, the South African Government will continue to be ill-equipped to address the social ills which abound in South Africa.

Solomon acknowledges that high levels of crime and violence together with substance abuse are deeply entrenched in South African culture, but she underscores that effective strategies and viable solutions to these challenges are available and achievable. “While there is no quick fix or instant solution, the answer lies in seeking and allocating the necessary resources as a first step to addressing the cause of crime and the many social ills which are both the cause and effect of crime and violence,” Solomon says.

We have to do things differently. It is crucial that we start by intervening in the factors that contribute to the risk of crime and violence. These include investing in youth, more especially at-risk youth; keeping children safe and supporting parents; and addressing the role of alcohol and drugs.

NICRO proposes the following broad strategies and principles for consideration:

• An increase in the police force and its training to ensure a strong, skilled, well-resourced and efficient police presence in every community faced with high levels of gang activity, substance abuse and violence,
• Match the resources to the magnitude of the problem,
• Create opportunities for young people to excel,
• Make adequate social services available to dysfunctional families,
• The funding of adequate drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres, and
• An effective, efficient criminal justice system.

“The time has come to stop debating, deliberating and lamenting the high incidence and consequences of crime and spotlighting crime statistics and all that is negative. It is time for positive, proactive action. Our country and its people will only succeed in defeating crime if we channel our passion for and commitment to a crime-free South Africa by taking carefully planned, goal-directed, steadfast and positive action. Only a united front, with the necessary political drive and well-funded, positive social activism, will ensure that crime does not divide us or diminish the remarkable achievements of our people and our country”, Solomon concludes.

Stop the talk and take action!

 

For enquiries, please contact:

Soraya Solomon
NICRO CEO
(021) 462-0017 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alternative contact:

Lynne Thackeray
Business Development & Marketing Coordinator
(021) 462-0017 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Issued by:
NICRO
1 Harrington Street
Cape Town