The latest crime stats have much to concern us! The downward trend of the last five to ten years seems to be grinding to a halt! The stabilising of the crime levels, albeit at a high level, seems to have reversed – violent crimes such as murder, attempted murder, aggravated robberies show increases! A total of 650 more murders than before! Robberies – more than before; attacked in homes and streets - more than before! The conviction rates seem to be about 50% of the arrest rate.
Why has this happened this year – why has the downward trend not continued? The good improvements of the past have been arrested! Is this the start of a change in trend to more violent trend?
So – all in all – not a good story – it leaves us with more questions and huge concerns instead of satisfaction or relief that our South African Police Services system is working and a belief in a safer country. It is certainly not a story of crime being under control! Neither is this a story of hope and inspiration.
Service delivery and performance within the SAPS should focus on good intelligence, dedicated detectives, adequate resources and strengthening senior management in an effort to improve their own functioning and outputs.
At the same time we must state that preventing crime does not start with the police! The police are at the far end of the continuum. Primary first-line crime prevention is not the main function of the police. Good and efficient social policies are vital in the campaign to prevent crime – health care, adequate housing, good education and training, work opportunities, social services safety net – these are the building blocks of a healthy citizenry. We, as ordinary citizens of the country also have a primary role to play in ensuring that our own family members are constructive citizens of society – parents must take up their responsibility as well.
But, let’s look at some positive news - there are tens of NPO’s and other agencies working hard at reversing the social pathology that threatens the social fabric of our society – offering SA citizens hope and help in dealing with poverty and problems that destroy families and affect their ability to live a good life and meet at least their basic human needs. These agencies are voluntary, poorly resourced, staffed by lowly remunerated staff and unpaid volunteers, and are our unsung heroes. Let’s showcase these agencies and note the other side of the crime stats. Given that police services start after a crime has been committed, it befalls these NPO’s to bring relief to families and communities requiring social services to uplift them and assist in meeting basic needs and avoiding spiralling down into perpetrating crime.
During the same period i.e. 2012/2013 NICRO, a voluntary association with expertise, dedicated professional staff, plagued by poor resources and low levels of remuneration, was successful in offering a total of almost 45 000 programme interventions . Fellow civil society organisations share similar successes and impact through the work and services that they offer citizens.
NICRO continues to believe in investing in our country’s human and social capital and will continue to offer its services as it has done the past 103 years, albeit under the most trying circumstances over the past five years. And in so doing we also pledge our support to the Criminal Justice System in general, ad SA Police Service in particular, for the work that they have to undertake.
For further inquiries about NICRO programmes and how you can get involved
Communication & marketing Manager
National Institute for Crime prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders
Tel: 021 462 0017
Fax: +27(0)21 462 2447
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NICRO2