A man bleeding from a knife stab drags himself towards the street light on Mucklenueck and Walker street to get help. Soaked in blood, citizens got on the 10111 line, but the Q&A session and the unprofessional-ism of the agents on the line led to the death of the unfortunate victim as he bled to his death. On the busy road of Nelson Mandela and schoeman, a phone thief saw an easy target and heads for the under bridge of Nelson Mandela after snatching a phone from an unsuspecting female victim.
These are some of the daily cases that lands on the desk of SAPS officers everywhere in the country. These cases and the volumes of crime rates are the very reasons used for justifying the numbers of new recruits every year and the increased burden on tax payers. So why is there no result and why are the very people employed to assist with these crimes ineffective?
Let’s take it from the very top of the list, Leadership problem is the first issue created by political directives that has created more problems than solutions. In most countries with a very effective policing and security systems, only people with military or police and safety experience are delegated to the commissioner of police status.
In South Africa, that is not the case. We are led by ceremonial leaders that depends on the cadre structure for initiatives, so no matter the numbers of times the commissioners are changed they depend on the same structure that was left by the previous administration. This in-turn leads to little or no change in operations and delivery.
- Income vs Passion
In 2014, there was a mass job recruitment exercise by the government at the showgrounds where thousands of applicants flocked to submit their application. Many of the rejects were advised by the recruiters to take the easy route of the police force to get access to the state resources as any other public servants. That year alone there was an increase in the numbers of people seeking to earn a living by joining the force than for the love to save and protect lives.
These are the same officers who are currently deployed to protect citizens. It would be easy to understand why service is taken for granted and people are prone to many insecurities.
- Race Settlement
In South Africa, there is a silent fact that has motivated the migration of blacks to a white dominated area and left a black one. The truth is that you are more likely to be a victim of crime in a black dominated community than in a white one. Most of the police deployed to a black area are likely to be corrupted and working for a pay check than a white one.
On the 15th of May 2017, I was stopped by two black police officers from Lyttelton police. I complied, showed them what they asked for and had a friendly chat as i drove away with a smile. The same incidence happened in Thembesia and I was told I could be locked up for 24 hours without questioning and they would ruin my weekend, so I ended up parting with the last R 150 i had on me.
So what is the way to ensure we are safe in the midst of the political commotion, lack of passion and a race defined community? The only answer is community initiatives. The only most logical and tested way to reduce crime in any community is to collectively combat the criminal elements.
- Community Vigilante Groups
When community members come together to fight crime, there is a more likely chance to succeed than relying solely on SAPS. The average respond time of police is 10 – 15 mins and that is enough for a great deal of damage to be done. In a community vigilante forum, the chance of getting help in 5 minutes is higher. Find an already exsisting vigilante group and offer to join to get updates of crime and access to support when in crisis.
- Safety Apps
Namola is an app available for download on Android and ios that could be used to inform officials about an emergency or a threat. You can check their Facebook page for more information. It is on a live feed and seems more accurate considering it uses google API as the location indicator. It can be downloaded on Google Play or the Apps store and can be useful in emergency cases.
- Safety Education and Forum
Safer Project is also a project that was started by EllerSecurity under it’s Foundation, it runs a safety tip campaign and an informative project that educates citizens about crime trends and also distributes personal security gadgets for personal protection to citizens. The project has distributed 3000 personal alarms, gave certified guards up to 30 visible jackets to distinguish them from criminals and up to 15 door jabs for personal home safety. You can subscribe for updates on their Facebook page The initiatives is kicking off slowing but is effective in the inner city where posters and flyers are everywhere to make people more vigilant of their surroundings. They are also developing a question forum for people seeking information on areas in south Africa on www.saferproject.co.za.
So, Creating a Vigilante group in the community, a policing forum, a technological information application, and creation of security awarness channel could save lives quicker.