It is pleasing to note that there has been an overall decrease in crime around the country. For this we express our appreciation for the work of the South African Police Service, Civil Society organisations involved in programmes and interventions geared towards crime prevention, as well to the various Government departments that are contributing towards a safer South Africa.
The Minister of Police announced the national crime statistics for the year the April 1 2011 to 31 March 2012. What does this all mean for you and me on the street? Do all the talks on increases and decreases in certain crime variables, and how some communities are appear to be much safer than the others, really reflect the true picture? For a second let’s forgot about the figures, let’s forgot about the percentages of increase and decreases and let us focus on community and our safety. What makes one community to be safer and the next more dangerous? What are those communities perceived to be safer doing to prevent crime in their area?
An article in Today’s Cape Times 21/09/2012 by Zara Nicholson entitled Nyanga and Camps Bay.... a tale of two suburbs, records that according to the released crime stats Nyanga had 233 reported murders while Camps Bay had zero. Camps bay residents feel safer in their community while Nyanga residents have been held hostage by the increase in crime in their area. What are the differences? Camps Bay has very high visible policing, ostensibly more police resources, as well as a well equipped Neighbourhood watch namely “Camps Bay Watch”. This seems to be the case in many instances where communities have less crime - if you go on a national level and compare the different communities you will notice that those communities with visible policing, an active Community Police Forum, and a neighbourhood watch seem to - anecdotally - have less crime.
What Nyanga and Camps Bay teaches us is that we can beat crime, but we cannot leave it only in the hands of the state, civil society groups, residents or individuals. We need to work together, constant collaboration between the residents, police and NGOs is very important.
We need to bring our resources together, we need to educate and learn from models that are working. For the last century the National Institute for Crime prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders has been developing and offering highly successful programs towards crime prevention; with noteworthy contributions towards the South African Criminal Justice System. It is NICRO’s vision to turn the tide against crime.
NICRO doesn’t only work with communities and victims, but creates platforms for interaction and dialogue on finding solution towards our social ills. In 2010 NICRO launched a Human Rights Lecture series, as one kind of platform that will bring people together with a common purpose towards Human Rights. The Human Rights lecture series has attracted high calibre speakers such as United Nation Human Rights High Commissioner H.E. Navi Pillay as well as Judge Richard Goldstone.
This year the Human Rights lecture series is taking place on the 25th September in Cape Town, and will host the newly appointed South Africa Police Service’s National Commissioner Ms Mangwashi Victoria “Riah” Phiyega as well as Judge Jody Kollapen of North Gauteng High Court. General Phiyega first months in office started dramatically with the tragic Lonmin Marikana Mine disaster and the controversial actions of the police. She will no doubt be able to share her views on this very topical matter. Judge Kollapen has a long and illustrious history in human rights. This would be a platform that the audience would be able to engage with the speakers through a dialogue. Both speakers will be would be speaking on the theme of Crime the beloved Country,
It is through collaborating together and joining hands that we can build a Safer South Africa.
It starts with you!!
Communication & marketing Manager
National Institute for Crime prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders