No time for complacency in war on crime levels

2010-09-11 10:48

The drop in crime statistics, coupled with the ­Reserve Bank’s announcement of a drop in the ­repo rate, is good news for the country.

We have something to cheer about after three weeks of the civil service strike, and we hope for more good news leading up to Christmas.

But while we congratulate police commissioner General Bheki Cele and his team for a job well done, a lot of work still lies ahead in the fight against crime on all fronts. The war can only be won if we all join the fight against this scourge.

Community involvement in the fight against crime is key because the criminals live among us and we know who they are.

Under Cele, the police force now needs to work more on winning the support and confidence of communities.

To achieve this, we need a clean ­police force that has a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption.

It’s encouraging to know that the murder rate has declined the most since 1995, but for a ­country that is not at war, we are still an ­unbelievably violent nation and we must work harder at dealing with these killings.

Analysts make an interesting observation – that most murders happen among people who know each other. This means that the battle can be won if communities stand together.

It is still a major concern that house robberies, especially in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, continue to rise, which means that we are still not safe in our homes.

The increase in residential burglaries and business robberies is indeed cause for concern, but under Cele, the police seem to have a better plan to combat crime than ever before.

And while some political parties and crime ­analysts have reason to be sceptical, the fight against crime cannot be won by folding arms and pointing fingers.

We are in this together and we must join forces to ensure a better society for all South Africans. Criminals must know that they have nowhere to hide.

But tough talk and visible policing alone won’t bring quick results.

Creating jobs and fighting poverty will help in ending the scourge and ­making our communities safer.

Crime intelligence must also be intensified, a move that will see the police foil more violent crimes, such as cash heists, before they happen.

Our courts must mete out the highest possible sentences for criminals, thereby sending a very strong message to the syndicates that run our streets that their time is up.

More work lies ahead.

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