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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sms tip-off initiative leads to arrests: Hooray for public involvement.

According to an article on the M&G website: "Media group Primedia's national anti-crime campaign[Crimeline] has led to 33 arrests since its launch three weeks ago".

And these are not minor offenses being prosecuted. The article goes on to say: "Successes include recovering four stolen vehicles at a complex in Winchester Hills, south of Johannesburg, and arresting two people, as well as the arrest of eight drug dealers and confiscation of their stock, and information on a murder in Dawn Park, outside Johannesburg."

Read the whole story from the source. Also check out the Crimeline website.

While the successes are a desirable end themselves, one aspect of this that is so exciting for me is the community involvement, and it fact OWNERSHIP of the crime problem in South Africa. We're all aware that it is a problem, and it's been overplayed and underplayed by various parties - while neither tactic achieves much. This on the other hand allows people to get involved, be proactive and make a genuine contribution.

We have a culture of crime in South Africa, and it's not restricted to a race or a class of people. Think I'm wrong? Then ask yourself why things get stolen from the changing rooms of the fancy gyms. Everyone there is well off enough to afford really big membership fees, so why should they need to steal anything??!

The point of this post is not to start an argument over the above claim [please read it with a normal amount of academic generosity, rather than lash out at me defensively] but to say that this sms-thing catching on might be the first sign of a changing tide, a shift in social morays. And some baddies are behind bars too! :)

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