Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Crime Expo South Africa - a force for good?

The websiste Crimexposouthafrica (Crime Expo SA) has ruffled a few feathers in South Africa. The site launched by Neil Watson states its aim as:

"By exposing the truth about the danger within South African borders, we aim to spark a re-think on the side of our government on the issue of safety and security. It is the duty of any government to protect all and to prioritize the right to live. Issues like sport should not dominate the right to live! Since we have notified the government and media about our intention in launching CRIME EXPO SA, the National and Safety Minister (01) apologized to the nation for his "take-your-stuff-and-move" remark in Parliament, (02) admitting that police officials lack the skills in dealing with the horror situation and (03) calling the top police structure for a meeting, A start perhaps, but not good enough. We aim to get the government to stabilize violent crime to acceptable levels, otherwise WORLD SOCCER 2010 fans are going to step into hell on earth!

Already there has been rumblings about moving the World Cup to Australia because of the South African crime situation. All of them officially denied.

2005_South Africa_Centurion_DSCF0242
Originally uploaded by hmvh.

I cautiously support Crime Expo and sent them this message:

Your website can be a very useful and successful tool in combating crime effectively in South Africa. There is little doubt to my mind that the South African government has not given nearly enough attention to fighting crime itself.

Internal pressure by the media and opposition parties has so far seen few results, and appealing to another pressure group, a world audience, now amplified by the focus of the coming world cup, can be a very successful strategy.

I hope that you will stay clear of party politics and include a wide a selection of South Africans concerns on your site. That will make your site more effective. I hope your site is indeed to there to affect a change and not out of malice.

You are right to mention that poverty per se is not often the direct cause of crime. But inequality is the cause of crime. Countries that have large scale poverty across the board have allot less crime than countries like South Africa, Brazil and Columbia that suffer from inequality.

I hope that you will also focus attention on the causes of crime and how this could be addressed. It is my opinion that the majority of middel class and rich South Africans, would rather pay higher taxes and see effective government spending on social upliftment, than immigrate.

South Africa's crime figures are notoriously unreliable. But murder and car hijacking crime figures is said to be an exception. That is because of the grim detritus, bodies and insurance claims, these crimes leave behind. Both figures have been falling significantly since 1994. If indeed these figures are true, then there is a duty for us to say so and work for an even faster decrease in these numbers.

(Although it's cold comfort if you are one of the thousands of South Africans killed and raped every year.)

May I make a few practical suggestions. Make a page where victims of crime can enter their details, including the crime numbers, and the location. Investigate how these locations can be mapped.

Use blogging software for parts of your site. It will make it easier to publish news on your site and make syndication possible, but what more, search engines will pick it up easier.

Crime Expo South Africa


South Africa

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