Please do not look the other way

The Sunday Independent - - LEADER -

CRIME stalks our homes and streets ev­ery day, like some deadly preda­tor. We try to keep our fam­i­lies safe by build­ing high walls, in­vest­ing in ex­pen­sive alarm sys­tems and join­ing neigh­bour­hood watches, but crim­i­nals are be­com­ing more brazen and cre­ative by the day.

What has be­come dis­qui­et­ing in re­cent times is a grow­ing ten­dency in some com­mu­ni­ties to show sym­pa­thy to­wards these thugs who wreak havoc, pain and tragedy.

Two in­ci­dents this week high­lighted this dis­turb­ing trend. In the first, a mother was tipped off by a fam­ily friend that her daugh­ter was be­ing gang-raped.

When she opened the door to a nearby home, she caught three men in the act. When the rapists turned on her, she re­acted in­stinc­tively, stab­bing all three and killing one.

She was ar­rested and now faces charges of mur­der and at­tempted mur­der. If con­victed, she could face years be­hind bars for try­ing to save her life and her daugh­ter from bru­tal crim­i­nals.

In the same in­ci­dent, the young fam­ily friend who alerted the woman to the rape tried to take her life last week, af­ter mem­bers of her fam­ily blamed her for the man’s death. They in­sisted if she had kept quiet, the al­leged rapist, who is known to them, would still be alive.

In another in­ci­dent, a wel­l­known and feared lo­cal gang­ster was shot and killed at a crime scene. Mo­tor­cy­cle riders es­corted the hearse and mourn­ers danced to loud mu­sic, drank openly, revved their en­gines and fired guns. Sev­eral cars were stolen and set alight in a mock cel­e­bra­tion of his death.

Which raises the ques­tion: If you wit­ness a crime, do you re­port what you’ve seen to the au­thor­i­ties or look the other way and mut­ter: “It’s none of my busi­ness”?

A re­cent sur­vey tells us one in four pro­fes­sion­als feels in­tim­i­dated to re­port cor­rup­tion and un­eth­i­cal prac­tices at the work­place. About 14% of the re­spon­dents feared for their lives for re­port­ing un­eth­i­cal be­hav­iour while 22% felt threat­ened do­ing so.

More dis­turb­ing, 70% of re­spon­dents claimed they were put un­der pres­sure to sweep things un­der the car­pet.

If this is any­where near the truth, what chance do we have of rid­ding our coun­try of crime and cor­rup­tion? Surely we can­not beat crime by sur­ren­der­ing meekly to it?

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