SA crime – the moaning continues

Sadly, South Africa is known, amongst many other things, for its high crime rate. But there came some good news on that front today with the release of the latest crime figures, which show a marked decrease, especially in many of the more serious crimes: murder down 4.7% and robbery with aggravating circumstances down 7.4%, for example. Well, I think it’s good news, but others aren’t happy.
Once again, (I always have to clarify this bit before I talk about crime in SA), I do recognise that South Africa has a problem with crime and I do recognise that something needs to be done about it and that people have a right to expect the government to do something about it. 
However, with the murder rate down to its lowest level in six years and a overall decrease in crime, I think that it is obvious that the initiatives and efforts which are being put in place to combat crime are beginning to work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are very few people who seem to recognise this, though.   

A lot of the negative comments I have read on various SA websites and forums on this subject fall broadly into four categories, which can overlap Venn diagram style, to allow maximum pessimism.
Firstly, there’s the Mugabe reaction: these people have read and heard that crime has decreased, but they are simply ignoring the news and pretending it hasn’t happened. That way, they continue to have something to moan about and a reason to live.
Secondly, the negative optimist approach – and no, that’s not an oxymoron. These people note that crime has fallen, but are not happy that there is still crime happening. In the negative optimists’ world, there is no murder, no robbery, no vandalism and everyone obeys the speed limits. These people should have listened to Safety and Security Minister, Charles Nqakula, as he was presenting the report this morning: 

He told media in Pretoria during the presentation of the annual crime report that even though the statistics indicated a steady decline, crime levels were still very high and “unacceptably so: Government wanted to see a more drastic decline.”

 See? He agrees with you. Crime is still unacceptably high. But it’s down.

Next up, my particular favourites: the nit-pickers. They will pick and choose the worst stats to illustrate just what difficult circumstances South Africa finds itself in: Yes, murder is down, rape is down, robbery is down, but what about truck high-jackings? Did you see that truck high-jackings were up?
Finally, the never-believers. They stand by the words of Mulder & Scully. Trust no-one. These stats are all made up by the Government to make us feel better, when really, crime has sky-rocketed. They cite the fact that these figures are only for reported crime. Which is absolutely correct. However, I defy any government, worldwide, to present accurate statistics on unreported crime, because, you see, it’s unreported.
However, in the unlikely event that the Government has completely fabricated the figures presented today, then I feel that they could have done a much better job on reducing truck high-jackings.

So, there you have it. Once again, I’m fed up with people moaning instead of doing something proactive, like joining their neighbourhood watch. I’m fed up with people only looking for the bad news instead of being happy that there’s actually some good news. I’m fed up with people having foolishly high expectations and feeling angry when they are unfulfilled. Bring forth your predictable and ill-thought-out comments.

One final thing – I’m also growing a little tired of Italians ruining my weekends. This time, the act was repeated by the utterly appalling one-sided refereeing of the Euro 2008 Final by Italian Roberto Rosetti.
Yes Roberto, handball and headbutting are against the rules in football.
German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann thinks the Euro 2008 final was fixed:

“The referee was a catastrophe and sometimes I think it is fixed when I see such a referee, who is biased and not correct in his decisions.”
For example, A Spanish player (David Silva) head-butted our player (Lukas Podolski) and the referee saw it and the linesman saw it.”

Now, I’m no fan of Lehmann’s, but I’m in full agreement that something weird was going on with the refereeing last night. One dodgy decision after another – all in Spain’s favour. How strange.


12 thoughts on “SA crime – the moaning continues

  1. @Nicole: Then you’ll agree that they could have done a better job with the truck highjacking figures, then? 😉

    Also, if I were them, I’d have probably gone for a double figure reduction in murder, what with an election coming up soon. No?

  2. The statistics seem to moving the other way here in Blighty, or at least in London and the Home Counties.

    (Trucks don’t get hi-jacked here, by the way – the crims can’t afford the diesel to get away far enough!)

    Whilst the SA stats may start from a high level, any reduction in crime has to be a good thing doesn’t it? It needs to continue obviously…

    Near here is a town where I used to live, and walk around freely after dark on a Saturday night. No more.

    I’m not moaning about it, just taking reasonable precautions.

  3. Not only is it down but it is on a downward trend, that means that it decresed even futher since last time.

    Things don’t happen overnight…. but the trend shows that things are happening.

  4. As always, you’ve nailed it. Well done.

    PS I am a Category 2. But in my world, “there is murder, robbery, vandalism and nobody obeys the speed limits, but I live in hope that there will be less of all this in the future”… perhaps I’m a negative hopeless optimist?

  5. And then there’s the 5th group you declined to comment on, the balanced realists, a group who take a longer term view of the stats rather than tha of the year on year doomsayers or the naively optimistic.

    Put simply, if a particular statistic was X ten years ago, rose to 3X last year and is now 2.6X, you can both celebrate the minor improvement in the short term and decry the really horrific longer term trend.

    To provide a balanced view you need to explore this option too, 6000.

  6. @abingdon: I don’t think that there’s any doubt that crime is a horrendous problem in SA. And therefore, I don’t think there’s any doubt that your 3X -> 2.6X point is entirely correct.
    That said, I do think there’s certainly a case for celebrating the successes and the progress that is being made, while acknowledging the need for further improvement and the fact that crime is still unacceptably high.
    Thus, I don’t think I ignored your 5th group: I was merely commenting on the people with a negative viewpoint in this article. In fact, I consider myself to be in that 5th group.

    My point about general negativity is borne out by the newspaper headlines on the streetlights this morning. After stats which showed murder rates down, rape down, aggravated robbery down, the hadline was: “Highjackings on the rise”.

    Yes, they’re right. But is that really what people should be being force-fed over their cornflakes? Is that what we want to read?

  7. Being a girl, I can never make up my mind and seem to switch groups on a regular basis!

    Mostly I am optimistic and very happy about the downward trend but at the moment I am nitpicking – Crime is up in the Eastern Cape. In fact home robberies have doubled in the past year. What happened? Did the criminals decide they wanted a bit of wind in their hair? Were the police getting tougher everywhere else and they decided our sleepy little hollow would be easy pickings?

    PE has always been known to have lower crime levels than the rest of the country but at this rate we are picking up rapidly.

    Pamela’s last blog post was: I hate Mondays – especially this one! (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  8. I’m fed up with you moaning about everyone moaning 😉 I’m sure I’ve told you this before!

    I suppose you’re going to lump me into the fourth category with this one but…the stats are down but does that really mean a decrease in crime across the board or a decrease in people reporting crime? I mean honestly, when it comes to basic break ins lots of people don’t even bother to phone the cops because some of them are so useless.

    Yay for a decrease in murder though…unless people are becoming more competent at hiding the bodies…

    Goblin’s last blog post was: Do not want. (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  9. Murder rate in 1994 = 70 per 100 000.
    2010 = 34 per 100 000

    Murder rate is down 50% since they started properly tracking violent crime.

    And for those who think they make up the stats try consider that murder stats are made up of the following.

    Morgue data. Death certificates signed by doctors to confirm cause of death. Hospital data. Insurance companies actuaries. The police (by precinct..consider that with thousands of these country wide each one deals with on;y a few murders each year and these are published on their site, The officers on the ground would easily have told us by now if they were presenting false data. ) etc etc etc

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