We need more ef­fort in the fight against crime

African Times - - Leader -

THE re­cently re­leased crime statis­tics tell us one thing: We must all dou­ble our ef­forts in the fight against crime. We all have a role to play as a so­ci­ety to en­sure we are safe where we stay. Blam­ing the po­lice for not do­ing enough is disin­gen­u­ous and hon­estly un­fair. We know the crim­i­nals in our ar­eas but we shield them from the law. We have adopted the cul­ture and be­lief that as long as they are not ter­ror­is­ing us here at home we are fine. That men­tal­ity is very dan­ger­ous. As much as they don’t com­mit the crimes in their ar­eas, crim­i­nals from other ar­eas come to where we stay and course havoc.

If ev­ery com­mu­nity would speak out and name those crim­i­nals, the en­tire coun­try will be­come safer and ul­ti­mately the crime rate will drop dras­ti­cally. We can’t ex­pect po­lice to ar­rest crim­i­nals that they don’t know. We are our own down­fall by har­bour­ing them, and cry­ing wolf later doesn’t do any­one jus­tice. We need to stand up and re­claim our streets. We need to work hand in hand with po­lice. We must go back to the era of street com­mit­tees and Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Fo­rums. Such ini­tia­tives will de­ter crim­i­nals and re­duce crime. We need to stop be­ing a re­ac­tive so­ci­ety and be­come proac­tive in our ap­proach to crime fight­ing.

While Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula pub­licly de­clares war on crime and vows to dish out the same amount of vi­o­lence re­ceived from crim­i­nals, the war won’t be won with­out our in­put. By work­ing closely with po­lice, we will know first­hand the chal­lenges they face and the lim­i­ta­tions that ex­ist within the dif­fer­ent po­lice sta­tions. This will, in turn, en­cour­age those who have lost faith in the po­lice sys­tem to start re­port­ing crimes. The ef­fects of crime have a long-last­ing im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties and the lives of the vic­tims. En­sur­ing that crime is nipped in the butt will have a pos­i­tive im­pact for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. We need a coun­try where peo­ple are not afraid to walk to the shops in the evening. We need to cre­ate a so­ci­ety where we won’t have to fear driv­ing at night be­cause we might be hi­jacked.

There is an African proverb that says “it takes a vil­lage to raise a child”. That should also be the case when it comes to en­sur­ing the safety of com­mu­ni­ties. We need to be our neigh­bour’s keeper, be each other’s ears and eyes. We must be the first point of con­tact to po­lice main­tain­ing or­der in our com­mu­ni­ties. Fail­ing to do so, we will al­ways say po­lice are fail­ing com­mu­ni­ties. It is ac­tu­ally the other way around, com­mu­ni­ties are fail­ing the po­lice. We lie to them in or­der to pro­tect the crim­i­nals we know. We don’t re­port un­em­ployed peo­ple own­ing a top of the range ve­hi­cles. We in­stead ask for lifts and tip them off when po­lice con­duct op­er­a­tions in our ar­eas. Let us change that. Let us step up to the ta­ble and tackle the is­sue of crime head-on.

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