Sunday, 23 May 2010

No problem, crime is safe

by Greg Saunders
2010-05-20 15:20

Dear Editor,

“It is safe, crime is everywhere in the world”. Am I that illiterate, because I don’t understand the statement? Can crime really be safe? This was implied by Brigadier Phuntsi Chipu in the article “Crime not such a big problem - police”. Perhaps it is another of those “it does not mean what it says” slogans.

The question I want to ask is why SA crime must be compared to the rest of the world? Firstly, one cannot compare it generally, because most of the world’s crime is not accompanied by the level of violence we see here. The aftermath of many of our crime scenes is a display of hatred and pleasure derived from these deeds. Our crime is by no means petty compared to the world.

However, when comparison is made, it is compared to a few other problematic countries. But this is “selective” comparison and thus also overstates the crimes in those countries. Why not then compare us to Switzerland? Should it not rather be compared to the effect our crime has on our own society and the economy. Shouldn’t public outcry be enough reason to realise that we have a serious problem?

These comparisons do not make sense. It simply means that if it is ok there, then it is ok here. Thus, crime is ok and if crime escalates in another country, we can become more lenient in our policing. No, this is an eye-blind, a means to deflect attention from our real problem. It is a justification of our own incompetence to combat crime.

Crime classification also comes into the picture here. Yes, every country has crime, but the crime we experience here reaches defined human rights violations. How can farm murders, for example, in any way be generalised by comparing it to crime in the rest of the world?

No, I say our violent crime is unique and cannot be compared with the rest of the world.

Crime is everywhere, but it’s safe? Hit me with a plank.

Greg Saunders


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