South Africa is a highly unequal society. It has one of the highest gini-co-efficients a measure of inequality in the world. Research shows that inequality and crime go hand in hand.
Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa by Crais, Clifton
Police leaders reported that their staff numbers have gone down by 10, since They argued that they had 62, fewer police than were needed. Police agencies all over the world often claim that, to reduce crime, they need bigger budgets and more officers. But the evidence that these two things automatically lead to more effective crime prevention is far from clear. Take the issue of police numbers. Short-term and extreme spikes in police numbers such as in response to terrorist threats do seem to reduce crime.
But a review of a number of studies on the relationship between policing levels and crime rates suggested that the impact of more police is generally small. The paper also noted that part of the problem was that there have been few rigorous experiments on, for example, extra police resources being allocated randomly. Bigger budgets also have mixed outcomes. This is because, very often, a significant proportion of spending on police is ineffectual. With the right focus, resources could be directed to these areas. What works best is a problem-solving approach.
This involves focusing narrowly on understanding specific crime problems in specific places, and using not only police but drawing on the knowledge and resources of all parties, including other government departments and local communities. For example, particular factors might be contributing to a spike in robberies in a particular area.
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Latest cases include a student from Cape Town who was lured into a post office and beaten to death after being raped. Another victim was a year old schoolgirl who was raped and died after her head was smashed in. But while the government has called the operation a success, Landau does not believe that this is going to be a long-term solution.
And I think some of it is because they're addressing it just through brute force rather than looking at the personal and structural incentives that lead people to use violence," Landau says. Mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses. Nigeria and other African countries have condemned the attacks. Ramaphosa announced that a fact-finding mission led by two former African heads of state would investigate the causes of recent violent attacks and acknowledged that South Africa was facing a serious crisis of violence and intolerance.
I think there is certainly a propensity for violence.
But, he says, the state responds to incidents only "when people start looting and burning buildings. That has been the issue: Whenever the state sees fire, it then starts to react to the situation.
Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa
Each evening at UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here. Outrage is growing among Africans everywhere after a new spate of xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Politicians and citizens alike are calling on South Africa's government to act decisively to prevent further violence.
Xenophobia in South Africa strains international relations
Many African women can still only dream of owning a smartphone and having access to the internet. Men, however, have long been able to surf the web.
This inequality has significant political and economic consequences. Many children in Africa have to work as domestic help, on plantations or in prostitution to survive.
They are robbed of their childhood and guaranteed a life in poverty if they are kept out of school. Observers say migrants are being used as scapegoats in the latest wave of violent attacks.
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