Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, March 19, 2007

Perceptions of Crime
The Business Day reports on a confidential survey conducted by the Bureau of Market Research late last year. The survey polled households and businesses on the greatest concerns they felt they were facing in their domestic and business lives. The results are quite interesting.

Firstly of interest, was the almost negligible difference between crime perceptions in the suburbs and the townships. Many people seem to cling on to the belief that crime only targets white people, which is a dangerous fallacy. But what I found most interesting was just how high crime polls on the list. When you consider a Maslovian needs and wants scenario, the fact that crime polled third in the townships after only unemployment and HIV/AIDS is grave. This means that crime was seen as a greater concern than say, having access to clean water, illustrates the prevalence of crime perceptions and the difficulties Government faces in changing those perceptions.

Strong leadership is required, and certainly a more empathetic approach from Government is requisite. Mbeki's much maligned (and often taken out of context) comments in his ANC Today newsletter may hold some weight, but they do little to throw a comforting arm around the nation (black and white) to say "we hear you, and let's try our best - together - to address this challenge".