2007-04-02 : Criminals have created 'climate of terror'

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2007-04-02 : Criminals have created 'climate of terror'

Postby GOSA » Wed, 2007-04-11 07:23


Criminals have created 'climate of terror'
Staff Writer
April 02 2007 at 04:47AM

Crime is increasingly showing signs of "criminal terrorism", says
Michael Hough, the director of the Institute for Strategic Studies in

In a report published by the institute, Hough says the extreme
violence that accompanies many crimes and the use of a combination of
guerrilla and terror tactics - for instance, in cash-in-transit
robberies - suggest the country may be in the grip of "criminal

Criminals have created a climate of fear, he says.

"When crime starts resembling criminal terror, the climate of fear
created... may be similar to that caused by widespread political
terror. In a climate of criminal terror, even the police become
demoralised and increasingly become targets, adding to the perception
of disdain for the law."

Although figures suggest the incidence of some types of crime is
decreasing, the excessive levels of violence used tend to overshadow
any declines.

"Of major concern is the seemingly senseless violence directed at
crime victims, even if they show no resistance... Statistics alone do
not clearly explain the types and levels of violence associated with
specific crimes."

Last year, there were 56 attempts to blow up ATMs. By the beginning of
last month, 68 more had been recorded.

In the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the number of robberies at
shopping centres, with a direct threat to the public, increased last

Hough says the "statistics versus perceptions" debate will continue,
with the government quoting statistics and the public basing its view
on perceptions, experience and media reports.

"It would be patently unwise of the government to ignore perceptions.
Perceptions are as important as statistics and (those about) crime are
also based on the reality that high levels of seemingly senseless
violence accompany many crimes and that nowhere and no one is safe.

"To overemphasise poverty as the main cause of crime, as the
government mostly does, does nothing to explain the excessive
violence... nor is there any factual evidence that most crimes are
caused by poverty.

"This would imply, if true, that most people in the world (were) criminals."

o This article was originally published on page 4 of Cape Times on April 02, 2007
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