The civil rights group AfriForum says neighborhood and farm guards are now more than ever needed to help secure communities.
This after Bheki Cele, police minister, said on Friday that violent crime incidents were on the rise again. “In terms of serious and violent crime, we announced in April that there was a large decrease in contact crime in particular, including family violence, as well as in trio crimes such as home and business robberies and hijackings,” Cele said.
“We again compared crime during the lockdown with the same period last year and although the figures remain relatively low, we have seen a slight increase in some categories.”
He said it was possible to relax the lockdown regulations that led to more movement of people and vehicles.
Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s head of community safety, said many of the crimes that are now starting to increase can be combated with the help of community safety initiatives such as neighborhood watches.
“In rural areas, crop theft is skyrocketing – something that can be stopped by farm guards,” Cameron said.
Cameron says in Cele’s statement he said there was an overall decrease in crime compared to last year’s figures in a statement that AfriForum considers being an unfair comparison.
“It is logical that when there is less movement, crime and also its reporting will decrease to a certain extent. However, this is not an accurate reflection of the current situation and does not mean that crime is not a serious, ongoing and increasing threat.
“The government simply does not have the capacity to fight crime alone and community structures are important in the fight against violence and crime in South Africa. Where police are now primarily playing a reactive role, neighborhood and farm guards play a big proactive role, ”he said.
Genl. National Police Chief Khehla Sitole said on Friday that the police had met over the past week and that so-called online community policing was being started. Sitole said an action plan would be presented that would outline what the process looked like. He did not provide more details.