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SA needs to mobilise against crime more

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SA needs to mobilise against crime more

by Bathandwa Mbola
09 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Despite government's calls for South Africans to help in building safer and more secure communities by mobilising against crime, a new survey has revealed that citizens need to do more to protect themselves.

According to a survey realised by the Institute for Security Studies on the 2007 National Victim Survey conducted during October to November 2007 found that 60 percent of the people that were interviewed had done nothing.

"This is unfortunate because of those who did take measures, 75 percent said they felt safer as a result," the report said.

Government believes that every citizen has a role to play in combating crime in the country, and that it was well documented that partnerships with communities and neighbourhoods have yielded good results.

According to the survey, crime in South Africa has decreased by 12 percent since 1998 and four percent in since 2003.

"The notable decreases where mainly in housebreaking, corruption, theft from vehicles and stock theft," the report said.

Government has been calling upon ordinary citizens to volunteer at their local police stations, joint community policing forms and desist from buying stolen goods.

Moreover, the report found that people had good access to the police.

"About 98 percent said they know where the nearest police station is and it takes most of these people about 30 minutes to get there."

Government has in the past increased access to police stations and increased police personnel.

This year will see more than 200 000 police officers by the end of March 2011, up 22 percent from the 163 000 police officers in 2006/07, as well as more prosecutors, judges and magistrates.

On corruption cases the survey revealed that most bribes are in the form of money.

Most bribes relate to policing, and traffic fines in particular, the report reads.

"Traffic fines and driver's licenses are growth areas for bribery and most people who are asked to pay a bribe, do so," the report found.

On what motivates most people to commit crime, greed was believed to be the most likely reason why people commit crime.

On the question of whether crime levels had changed over the past four years, most people thought crime was on the increase.

Fifty-seven percent of those asked in 2007 thought crime had risen, compared to 53 percent in the 2003 survey.

People in Gauteng were found to be the most negative about crime.

Communities can get involved by forming street committees, neighbourhood committees and reporting all crime actives.

Such high level, participation from sectors, government believes will not only contribute to safer environment but will restore confidence of citizens in their ability to act against crime and contribute to a safer environment.

In its many efforts to curb the high levels of crime in the country, government has formed and involved itself with various partnerships and initiatives.

These include the Anti-Crime Leadership Forum, Business Against Crime, ACT Against Crime Together; the Take Charge campaign; Bambanani and the Primedia Crime Stop number among others. - BuaNews

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