Murder rate drops in South AfricaSeptember 10th, 2011 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS
Cape Town, Sep 10 (IANS) The number of murders committed every year in South Africa has progressively dropped from 26,000 in 1994 to 16,500 in 2010, state-run news agency BuaNews said.
With the introduction of the Firearms Control Act in 2002, and “as attitudes changed”, about 640 gun dealers closed shop between that time and 2006, it said.
Though the country’s support for crime prevention has been “inconsistent”, there has been an improvement in “trust between the state, communities and inter-communities”, according to South Africa gun control advocate Adele Kirsten and African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum co-coordinator Sean Tait.
The two were part of several high-profile officials from around the world, who gathered earlier this week at a World Health Organisation (WHO) meeting in Cape Town.
Kirsten told BuaNews that the dip in murder rates could be attributed to the Firearms Control Act, as well as changes in attitudes towards gun ownership.
She said that addressing poverty through state programmes, and trauma caused by apartheid, as well as including communities in decision-making could prevent “collective violence”.
She had studied a poverty-stricken community in Bokfontein near Johannesburg.
As initiatives at violence prevention were undertaken in that community, some of the victims of xenophobia (hatred of foreigners) sought safety there, she said.
Tait said that together with the government, they worked on crime and safety projects in Orange Farm, Elsies River and Nompumelelo areas.
He said the communities there were affected by poverty, drug abuse, gangsters and overcrowding.
Due to their intervention, Tait said the communities’ capacity for promoting safety was strengthened.
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