Crimes report in Africa

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Crimes report in Africa

Crime is an issue in South Africa in the 2000s. A survey for the period 1998-2000 compiled by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ranked South Africa second for assault and urder (by all means) per capita and first for rapes per capita.[1] Total crime per capita is 10th out of the 60 countries in the dataset. Note that these statistics only compare statistics from approximately 60 countries (typically better-developed countries) and many of the remaining countries of the world will have higher rates of violent crime - though these are usually unmeasured, disputed or uncomparable. The UN statistics also contain some laws (e.g. gun crime in South Africa.

The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have also conducted research[4] 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 comparison of national crime statistics between countries is controversial since not all countries record these statistics to the same accuracy and every country has its own definition of each type of crime. In addition, the number of crimes that are actually reported is questionable.

Many emigrants from South Africa state that crime was a big factor in their decision to leave[5]. Crime against commercial farmers has continued to be a major problem in the country. South Africa also has a bad record for car hijackings when compared to industrialised countries largely associated with the lower rate of car ownership. For example, the South African insurance company, Hollard Insurance, no longer insures Volkswagen Citi Golfs as they are one of the most frequently hijacked vehicles in South Africa.

According to government statistics, violent crimes such as murder and (reported) robberies have decreased in recent years.[7]. The rape and hijacking rates, however, showed no signs of such a slowdown. Hijackings and cash in transit heists particularly have been shown to be on the increase. The situation with rape has become so bad that the country has been referred to as the 'rape capital of the world'.

Recently the government has had a widely-publicised gun amnesty programme to reduce the number of weapons in circulation. In addition, it adopted the National Crime Prevention Strategy in 1996, which aimed to prevent crime through reinforcing community structures and helping

The government has been criticised for doing too little to stop crime. Some question the effectiveness of the South African Police Service.[10] The Government was criticized when the Minister of Safety and Security was in Burundi promoting peace and democracy while there has a spate of crime in Gauteng. This spate included the murder of an alarming number of people, including members of the South African Police Service killed while on duty. The criticism preceded an announcement by the minister that the government would put effort into quelling the alarming increase of crime by 30 December 2006. In one province alone, x9 police officers lost their lives in the first 7 months of 2006.

The Minister of Safety and Security, Charles Nqakula caused outrage among South Africans on June 2006 when he responded to opposition MPs in parliament, who were not satisfied that enough was being done to counter crime, saying that MPs who complain about the country's crime rate, should stop complaining and leave the country.

One of the most visible results of South Africa's anxiety concerning crime is the increasing number of gated communities that have been built in an effort to promote the
afety of inhabitants. They usually comprise a group of suburban street blocks whose road exits have been fenced off with the exception of one or more entrances that are monitored by guards, usually employed by a security company. The gated communities are generally located in wealthy areas whose residents can afford this type of protection. Having a house within a gated community tends to increase its value, and significantly reduces traffic within the gated community. Typically, gated communities are set up by the residents of a neighbourhood or block of streets, after they have been granted permission by their local municipality. Their plans also have to be approved by traffic analysts. They typically consist of blockade fencing being erected on the streets at the outskirts of the gated community, with one or more access points set up, which consist of booms in the road that are operated by a security Attendant. Most gated communities keep a register of the license plates of cars that enter the community (or in some cases with more than one entrance, the cars that exit as well), and is such a guard is usually present 24 hours a day.

The issue of gated communities is controversial, with some arguing that they are asking to a return to the pass laws, and research suggesting that they are a threat to democracy and risk causing further community division.[13] Some opponents to gated communities argue that statistically they are not much safer than non-gated communities, and the South African Human Rights Commission has been asked to report on whether or not they violate any human rights, such as freedom of movement. Legally, the access gates in a gated community are not supposed to deny anyone access; however they nonetheless serve the purpose of deterring traffic and unwanted individuals, and much better monitor the people entering and exiting the gated communities, usually with a register of vehicle license plates or other information. Gated communities also hamper emergency services, because not only are their access points to a given street much more limited, but gated community boundaries to not show up on maps which create the need for extra time to find the entrance.

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 SAPS (South African Police Service) uses private security companies to patrol and safeguard certain police stations, thereby freeing fully-trained police officers to perform their core function of preventing and combatting crime.

Police response is deemed too slow and unreliable, and thus security companies are a popular form of protection. Many levels of protection are offered, from suburban foot patrols to complete security checkpoints at the entry points of homes. Most security companies do offer panic buttons and armed response.

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