Young men most at risk in gang vi­o­lence, re­port says

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

ern­ment’s shadow re­port on mur­ders in the prov­ince dur­ing 2011/12 shows, were the re­sult of stab­bings, which ac­counted for 49 per­cent of cases, fol­lowed by shoot­ings (26 per­cent) and se­vere as­saults (17 per­cent).

The re­port was com­piled by the prov­ince’s Com­mu­nity Safety Depart­ment, us­ing data ob­tained mainly from po­lice crime statis­tics, and mor­tu­ary fig­ures sup­plied by the Health Depart­ment’s foren­sic pathol­ogy ser­vices.

The re­port sug­gests that in ar­eas known for gang vi­o­lence, the num­ber of mur­ders as a re­sult of shoot­ings was sig­nif­i­cantly higher than the provin­cial norm.

“The rate and num­ber of mur­ders com­mit­ted in known gang ar­eas has in­creased by sig­nif­i­cant mar­gins since 2008, while over the same pe­riod of time lit­tle suc­cess has been achieved with the pros­e­cu­tion of mur­der cases in those ar­eas,” the re­port found.

Fur­ther, the data points to par­tic­u­lar con­cern over the bru­tal­ity and au­dac­ity of many of th­ese mur­ders – of­ten as­sas­si­na­tion-style, in­volv­ing mul­ti­ple gun­shots and in broad day­light.

Data around the vic­tims showed that 63 per­cent were aged be­tween 18 and 35, with the sec­ond group (23 per­cent) aged 36 to 54.

“When this in­for­ma­tion is com­pared to the de­mo­graph­ics of the prov­ince, it is clear that young men be­tween the ages 18 and 35 years are the most at risk as po­ten­tial mur­der vic­tims in the prov­ince,” it said.

The ma­jor­ity of vic­tims (58 per­cent) were clas­si­fied as black, fol­lowed by coloureds ( 38.4 per­cent), and 2 per­cent white.

Com­mu­nity Safety MEC Dan Plato warned that it was only through an holis­tic ap­proach, in­volv­ing all lev­els of so­ci­ety, that the war against crime could be won. “This war starts by di­vert­ing the youth at risk to­wards mean­ing­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Plato said when pupils left high school, then went on to ter­tiary study, they were in a much bet­ter po­si­tion to find em­ploy­ment, and far less likely to get in­volved in a life of crime.

“Pre­lim­i­nary en­rol­ment fig­ures from the North­link Col­lege and Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Safety part­ner­ship show that the vul­ner­a­ble and un­em­ployed youth in our crime- af­fected com­mu­ni­ties are ea­ger to be ed­u­cated, and are seek­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to build lives that they value,” he said.

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