South Africans, (SA has a population of 47 million people) reported 19 202 murders at the SA Police Service from April 2006 to March 2007. (Source) SA's reported murder rate is the sixth highest in the world after Colombia (Source). There aren’t however reliable statistics in most African and in some South American countries. Some countries, like Somalia, don’t have central government at all. It doesn't make South Africa's situation by any means less critical however.
According to the South African Advertising Research Foundation's annual All Media and Product Study report, 11.6% of adults were victims of violent crime in South Africa the past 12 months preceding the date of interview, down from 12.4% in the 2005 survey. The report was released in September 2006 (Source).
The question asked to the interviewees was: "During the past 12 months, have you personally been a victim of violent crime in South Africa, i.e. physical assault, mugging, gang attack, rape or hijacking?" (Source). They interviewed 24 813 people. The average monthly domestic income for the interviewees were R998 (US$135) per month. When you use that figure of 11.6%, while not taking into account that the majority of violent crimes happen in non-tourist areas, an adult tourist stand less than a 0.67% chance to be a victim of violent crime when visiting South Africa for 3 weeks. Fact is however that South Africa does post more danger than most other popular tourists destinations and that theft of luggage at our airports are cause for concern. As the tourism industry is one of South Africa's most valuable economic assets, more attention should be given to the protection of tourists.
According to a recent United Nations report, 3% of people in Scotland and 2.8% people in England and Wales are victims of violent crime each year. The violent crime the report referred to excluded rape and hijacking, but referred to physical assault. I quote from the article published on September 2005 in The Times, a UK newspaper: "The study, based on telephone interviews with victims of crime in 21 countries, found that more than 2,000 Scots were attacked every week, almost ten times the official police figures. They include non-sexual crimes of violence and serious assaults. Violent crime has doubled in Scotland over the past 20 years and levels, per head of population, are now comparable with cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Tbilisi." (Source)
A recent analysis of 9 623 dockets by the government indicated that in 81.5% of the murders the perpetrators were known to the victims and in 46% of those cases the perpetrators were relatives, friends or acquaintances of the victims. The figures for serious and violent assault indicated that in 89.1% of cases the perpetrators were known to the victim (72.9% were relatives, friends or acquaintances), while in 75.9% of rape cases the perpetrators were known to the victims (57% being relatives, friends or acquaintances of the victims) (Source).
Most homicide victims have been found to have high concentrations of alcohol in their blood. Most murders have tended to be committed on Friday and Saturday nights and in and around taverns, bars and shebeens. It is also mentioned that most suspects arrested for murder and rape have been found to have used drugs or alcohol immediately prior to the crime (Source).
I believe above-mentioned statistics put the violent crime rate, especially the murder rate in perspective, but every murder or violent act is one too many. I know last-mentioned may sound like a cliche, but the truth is that every violent act often leads to trauma for the victim and its acquaintances, in the process tearing the South African psyche apart. The crime crisis in South Africa is endemic and we call on the government to take the matter more seriously.
CharlHi Daar! Ten minste het julle 3 (jy, Mnre. Boshoff & Watson) die wêreld aan die praat! Vryheid van Spraak in aksie. Ek hou daarvan. Baai!
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Getting behind the statistics to offer a sober and sobering account of the scale of the crime problem and its evolution, the book describes how government has sometimes sought to deal with the crisis and sometimes sought to deny its existence. The book ends with some suggestions of what needs to be done to deal with this scourge. Buy