Communities’ assistance key in turning dismal crime statistics around

Crime reduction can be achieved through collaboration, community policing, neighbourhood watch programs, victim support, and education. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

Crime reduction can be achieved through collaboration, community policing, neighbourhood watch programs, victim support, and education. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 17, 2024


As recent crime statistics pointed to over 7700 murders committed in just three months, crime stakeholders say the recent statistics point towards a real need for the public to get involved in the fight against crime.

Police Minister Bheki Cele released the third quarter crime statistics for the period between October and December last year, revealing how as many as 7 710 people were murdered during this period, an increase of 155 from the same period in the previous year.

Cele detailed how the five police precincts with the most recorded murders during the third quarter period were Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal and Mfuleni, Gugulethu, Nyanga and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape.

There were concerns raised of 268 gang-related murders, 250 of which were reported in the Western Cape.

The top 30 stations where the majority of murder cases were reported included the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Charnel Hattingh, group head of communications and marketing at Fidelity Services Group, said even though South Africa had thousands of police officers on duty every day, backed up by armed response companies and other law enforcement organisations, this group of stakeholders desperately needed the support of members of the public.

“The police simply cannot be everywhere, all the time. Armed response companies have also deployed the very best in technology backed by well-trained and equipped response officers. However alongside these, an active, well-resourced neighbourhood watch will always be of benefit to any area.

“Neighbourhood watches are an integral part of any community, serving as the eyes and ears for police, law enforcement and security companies. These groups are made up of individuals who sacrifice their time by looking out for their fellow residents, despite often having limited resources at their disposal,” Hattingh said.

Hattingh said while people were constantly wondering about how they could keep themselves safe from these types of crime, the best solution was to look no further than the organisations that were active right on their doorstep.

“They need your support and they need you to speak up when you see anything suspicious in your community.”

Makashule Gana, RISE Mzansi chief organiser, said the statistics painted a dismal picture that the police were indeed losing the fight against violence, leaving families and communities at the mercy of criminals.

Gana said their chief concerns were that the surge in crime would inevitably have adverse effects on the image of the country, resulting in fewer money-spending tourists wanting to visit the country.

Moreover, he stressed how this would result in a negative impact on the economy because the price of doing business would become even more unsafe and expansive, thus making it difficult to grow businesses and create much-needed jobs.

He said it was for this reason they believed it was crucial for law enforcement to shift towards proactive evidence and intelligence-based policing, and away from the current post-event reaction model.

Gana said the police could do this by directing resources towards communities with the highest crime incidences, employing and training more detectives and forensic specialists, and ensuring greater community involvement in crime intelligence gathering and crime prevention.

The Star

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