Crime in South Africa
Crime is a prominent issue in South Africa. South Africa has a high rate of murders, assaults, rapes, and other crimes compared to most countries. Many emigrants from South Africa state that crime was a big factor in their decision to leave. The South African Police Service is responsible for managing 1115 police stations across South Africa.
In February 2007, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was contracted by the South African government to carry out a study on the nature of crime in South Africa. The study concluded that the country is exposed to high levels of violence as a result of different factors, including:
- A subculture of violence and criminality, ranging from individual criminals who rape or rob to informal groups or more formalised gangs. Those involved in the subculture are engaged in criminal careers and commonly use firearms, with the exception of Cape Town where knife violence is more prevalent. Credibility within this subculture is related to the readiness to resort to extreme violence.
- The high levels of inequality, poverty, unemployment, social exclusion and marginalisation.
- The vulnerability of young people linked to inadequate child rearing and poor youth socialisation. As a result of poverty, unstable living arrangements and being brought up with inconsistent and uncaring parenting, some South African children are exposed to risk factors which enhance the chances that they will become involved in criminality and violence.
- The normalisation of violence. Violence comes to be seen as a necessary and justified means of resolving conflict, and males believe that coercive sexual behaviour against women is legitimate.
- The reliance on a criminal justice system that is mired in many issues, including inefficiency and corruption.
A survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked South Africa second for assault and murder (by all means) per capita and first for rapes per capita in a data set of 60 countries. Total crime per capita was 10th out of the 60 countries in the dataset.
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have also conducted research on the victims of crime which shows the picture of South African crime as more typical of a developing country. These statistics show that South Africa has lower rates of violent crime than many African and South American countries.
The murder rate has increased by an order of magnitude in South Africa during the last 40 years, though it has fallen from 66.9 per 100,000 people in 1994–95 to 37.3 in 2008–09. From 2003–2009, crime decreased significantly according to official police data. Between 1994 and 2009, the murder rate reduced by 50% to 34 murders per 100,000 people. The annual crime statistics released in 2011 show a continuing downward trend, except for rape, which went up by 2.1%. Business Against Crime attributed the reduction to improvements in the criminal justice system and policing. There have been numerous press reports on the manipulation of crime statistics that have highlighted the existence of incentives not to record violent crime. Nonetheless, murder statistics are considered accurate.
Homicides per 100,000 from April to March:
Province 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 Eastern Cape 76.8 73.4 70.4 61.5 59.6 56.2 50.7 55.2 52.1 Free State 50.6 54.0 50.7 46.1 43.3 38.6 33.9 34.2 35.2 Gauteng 83.1 81.3 76.6 78.2 77.5 64.6 63.1 54.1 53.3 Kwazulu-Natal 95.0 92.5 76.4 72.9 75.1 67.7 61.4 57.0 56.5 Mpumalanga 37.5 43.6 50.0 42.8 39.7 35.6 32.0 29.6 33.1 North West 37.6 44.5 46.7 38.9 40.9 31.6 30.2 30.2 30.7 Northern Cape 69.5 83.9 70.3 64.7 70.4 58.4 55.6 54.8 52.7 Limpopo 22.2 19.8 19.0 19.3 18.4 15.3 14.6 16.1 13.2 Western Cape 71.5 83.9 79.4 80.6 86.9 77.0 84.0 76.2 79.5 South Africa 66.9 67.9 62.8 59.5 59.8 52.5 49.8 47.8 47.4
Homicides per 100,000 from April to March:
Province 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 Δ% Eastern Cape 48.6 48.6 53.2 52.6 51.1 49.5 48.4 47.3 -5.1% Free State 30.5 30.7 29.5 32.2 29.7 31.6 31.4 34.1 6.5% Gauteng 48.8 41.6 38.8 40.8 38.9 37.9 32.7 29.1 -26.5% Kwazulu-Natal 53.9 51.1 49.9 50.4 47.0 47.0 40.4 35.2 -28.5% Limpopo 12.9 13.8 12.9 13.9 12.9 14.2 14.6 12.2 -3.6% Mpumalanga 30.4 31.9 25.4 24.8 23.6 25.1 24.3 20.0 -31.6% North West 25.9 23.9 22.8 24.4 24.3 25.1 21.5 23.2 -13.9% Northern Cape 40.4 38.1 36.4 38.1 38.3 36.5 33.2 31.0 -20.6% Western Cape 63.1 58.7 59.2 60.7 58.6 44.6 42.4 44.2 -18.6% South Africa 42.7 40.3 39.6 40.5 38.6 37.3 34.1 31.9 -19.6%
According to a survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the UN, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. The incidence of rape has led to the country being referred to as the "rape capital of the world". One in three of the 4,000 women questioned by the Community of Information, Empowerment and Transparency said they had been raped in the past year. More than 25 per cent of South African men questioned in a survey published by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in June 2009 admitted to rape; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person. Three out of four of those who had admitted rape indicated that they had attacked for the first time during their teens. South Africa has amongst the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world.
South Africa also has a high record of car hijackings when compared with industrialised countries, typically characterised by a lower rate of car ownership. A South African insurance company, Hollard Insurance, stated in 2007 that they would no longer insure Volkswagen Citi Golfs manufactured in the previous two years as they were one of the most frequently hijacked vehicles in South Africa. Certain high-risk areas are marked with road signs indicating a high incidence of car hi-jackings within the locality.
One incident involved a farmer being stabbed 151 times using various weapons such as a garden fork, panga, shovel, sharp knife and a brick.
PricewaterhouseCoopers's fourth biennial Global Economic Crime Survey reported a 110% increase in fraud reports from South African companies in 2005. 83% of South African companies reported being affected by white collar crime in 2005, and 72% of South African companies reported being affected in 2007. 64% of the South African companies surveyed stated that they pressed forward with criminal charges upon detection of fraud. 3% of companies said that they each lost more than ten million South African rand in two years due to fraud.
Louis Strydom, the head of PricewaterhouseCooper's forensic auditing division, said that the increase in fraud reports originates from "an increased focus on fraud risk management and embedding a culture of whistle-blowing." According to the survey 45% of cases involved a perpetrator between the ages of 31 and 40: 64% of con men held a high education or less.
Advance fee fraud
Advance fee fraud scammers based in South Africa have in past years reportedly conned people from various parts of the world out of millions of rands. South African police sources stated that Nigerians living in Johannesburg suburbs operate advance fee fraud (419) schemes. In 2002, the South African Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, wanted to establish a call centre for businesses to check reputations of businesses due to proliferation of scams such as advance fee fraud, pyramid schemes and fly-by-night operators.
In response the South African Police Service has established a project which has identified 419 scams, closing websites and bank accounts where possible.
Gated communities are popular with the South African middle class, black as much as white. Gated communities are usually protected by high perimeter walls topped with electric fencing, guard dogs, barred doors and windows and alarm systems linked to private security forces. The issue of gated communities is controversial, with some arguing that they are akin to a return to the pass laws. Research suggests that these pose a threat to democracy and risk causing further community division. The law requires that entry control measures within these communities should not deny anyone access. However, these measures are generally considered effective in deterring traffic and the entry of undesired individuals.
The numbers of enclosed neighbourhoods (existing neighbourhoods that have controlled access across existing roads) and security villages (private developments physically walled or fenced off, usually with a security guard) within municipalities differ substantially. Gauteng has the highest number of enclosed neighbourhoods: a 2003 survey found that the metropolitan municipalities of Tshwane and Johannesburg reported the highest numbers of enclosed neighbourhoods, with 36 and 300 respectively. The highest numbers of security estates were recorded in Emfuleni (40) and Madibeng (31) municipalities. There are also a number of illegal road closures in many municipalities, with more than 200 reported in Johannesburg in 2003.
The Gauteng Local Rationalisation of Government Affairs Act 10 of 1998, makes legal provision for the “Restriction of Access to Public Places for Safety and Security Purposes”, and regulates security access restrictions within Gauteng Province. Chapter 7 of the Act governs the implementation of security access restrictions, and any Council procedures must comply with the provisions it contains.
After public hearings were held in September 2004, a special report was released in 2005 by the SAHRC. The Chairperson of the SAHRC, Mr Jody Kollapen wrote, "The Commission, even though satisfied that a legal basis does exist for security access restrictions, including boom gates and road closures, urges local authorities and communities to consider and exhaust alternate access restrictions, including guards and guard houses, traffic calming measures and closed circuit television."
Private security companies
In order to protect themselves and their assets, many businesses and middle- to high-income households in South Africa make use of privately owned security companies with armed security guards.
The South African Police Service employ private security companies to patrol and safeguard certain police stations, thereby freeing fully trained police officers to perform their core function of preventing and combating crime. A December 2008 BBC documentary presented by Louis Theroux examined such firms in the Johannesburg area, including the Bad Boyz security company.
It is argued that the police response is generally too slow and unreliable, thus private security companies offer a popular form of protection. Private security firms promise response times of two to three minutes. Many levels of protection are offered, from suburban foot patrols to complete security checkpoints at the entry points to homes.
The government has been criticised for doing too little to stop crime. Provincial legislators have stated that a lack of sufficient equipment has resulted in an ineffective and demoralised South African Police Service. The Government was subject to particular criticism at the time of the Minister of Safety and Security visit to Burundi, for the purpose of promoting peace and democracy, at a time of heightened crime in Gauteng. This spate included the murder of a significant number of people, including members of the South African Police Service, killed while on duty. The criticism was followed by a ministerial announcement that the government would focus its efforts on mitigating the causes for the increase in crime by 30 December 2006. In one province alone, nineteen police officers lost their lives in the first seven months of 2006.
Recently,[when?] the government has employed a widely publicised gun amnesty programme to reduce the number of weapons in circulation. In 1996, the government adopted the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which aimed to prevent crime through reinforcing community structures and assisting individuals to get back into work.
The Minister of Safety and Security, Charles Nqakula, evoked public outcry among South Africans in June 2006 when he responded to opposition MPs in parliament who were not satisfied that enough was being done to counter crime, suggesting that MPs who complain about the country's crime rate, should stop complaining and leave the country.
- Crime Expo South Africa
- Law and Disorder in Johannesburg
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- ^ "Rip-off artists exploit land reform," The Namibian
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- ^ Gated communities are effective
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- Institute for Security Studies – A regional research institute operating across sub-Saharan Africa.
- WhiteCollarCrime.co.za – An initiative of Business Against Crime to try help people understand and recognise white collar crime and to teach its prevention.
- SAPS Crime Statistics 2010 – Crime statistics by year and category provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
- Interactive Crime Map – Crime and Economic Statistics by year and category on a geographic, interactive map provided by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP).
- South African Crime Map – South African Crime Map (Crowd Sourcing)
- Neighbourhood Watch Crime Map – Neighbourhood Watch Crime Map
- Crime Stats 2010 – The latest crime stats all in one directory
- Crime Watch – An initiative to try educated people about crime prevention as well as provide a community.
Life in South Africa Law enforcement in South Africa Police Crime See also Sovereign
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Republic of the Congo
- Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Equatorial Guinea
- The Gambia
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
States with limited
- Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
- Canary Islands / Ceuta / Melilla / Plazas de soberanía (Spain)
- Madeira (Portugal)
- Mayotte / Réunion (France)
- Saint Helena / Ascension Island / Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom)
- Western Sahara
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