2007-05-30 : Losing the crime war


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2007-05-30 : Losing the crime war

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-06-08 08:46

Losing the crime war
Witness Opinion Wed, 30 May 2007

ON Saturday night six gunmen held up a popular restaurant on
Durban’s Berea, ordering patrons to lie on the floor. One man
was shot dead and four people were wounded. A spokesman for the
KwaZulu-Natal Organised Crime Unit has suggested that the men
might have been part of a syndicate that targets restaurants in
the area and the restaurant is seeking ways of boosting
security. Something of a tall order, surely, for to be effective
against further gangs of armed men security would have to
include, besides electronically-controlled access, CCTV and a
hotline to the police, an increase in security staff who,
presumably, would need to carry guns and know how to use them.

And so one more haven of relaxation and pleasure, the quiet
restaurant in the “safe” suburb, has succumbed to the crime
psychosis that has the country in its tightening grip. Almost
everywhere people feel unsafe in their homes because of the
epidemic of housebreaking and armed robbery. Paedophiles and
kidnappers have made the streets and parks unsafe for children,
and the threat of hijacking stalks the roads that must be
travelled daily to and from work. The potential for violence (as
with the recent eruptions in Johannesburg taxi ranks) seems to
wait at every corner. Now, apparently, once pleasant leisure
activities have become equally fraught, and many South Africans
have come to feel there are no safe zones. They dare not drop
their guard or relax their vigilance anywhere or at any time.

So it is that the tide of crime, and of the fear, tension and
galloping paranoia that go with it, has crept ever deeper into
South African life, infecting every area of it, whether this be
geographical location, sphere of activity or mental and
emotional state. If we take into account the scale of crime
here, the huge numbers of criminals, their ingenuity, boldness
and utter ruthlessness, and we balance that against the
inability of the police to cope, we can only conclude that what
we have here isn’t a crime problem, it’s a war. And unless
government wakes up to the fact and works unremittingly towards
finding and implementing intelligent and practical solutions —
no matter how much they cost — this is a war we’re going to
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
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