Why crime pays in South Africa

South_african_police_may_2010We all know crime is totally out of control in South Africa. Government departments, political parties, NGO’s and the press are all speculating on the causes and the cures for this appalling state of affairs. Days are spent in think tanks discussing the socio political situation and how to reverse the moral decline of our society. Last year the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) boasted about their 88% conviction rate, further confusing the issue. They neglected to point out that their definition of conviction rates involve only those cases brought to court. The vast majority of criminals are never even caught.

The fact is that South Africa’s conviction rate is closer to 5.7%. A staggering 74% of all violent crimes do not even make it to court. More than 17,000 people are murdered each year. More than 90% of the criminals that commit murder are never convicted.

In South Africa you have a 94% chance of getting away with murder

The answer to the question of what causes our extraordinarily high crime rate is very simple. The world average conviction rate is more than 50%. This means that if you commit a crime in the rest of the world there is a 50% chance that you are going to be caught and convicted. In South Africa however you have a 94% chance of getting away with it.

The fact is that crime pays in South Africa. Yes, there are many socio economic issues and inequality drives the criminals to do what they do, but the real reason is that crime pays. It’s easier to make a living through crime than to do honest labour. There is no effective deterrent. Not with such a low conviction rate.

It’s not the fault of our police force either. They are overworked and underpaid. We need to re-energise our police force. We need to invest more in recruiting and training quality policemen and women. We need to reverse this horrific statistic and that can only be done by arresting and convicting more criminals. It’s really not that complicated.


South Africa Has Shockingly Low Murder Conviction Rates, New Stats Reveal

Firearm Murder in South Africa – the facts

There is so much misinformation out there with distorted facts and selective analysis about crimes committed with firearms in South Africa. The pro gun lobby would let us believe that if guns were outlawed only outlaws would have guns, and to support their claims they regularly cite the few cases where a legal gun owner either defended himself successfully with his firearm or prevented a crime from happening.

Here are some startling facts:

South Africa has one of the highest murder rates by firearm. 21.51 People out of every 100,000 die by the gun. In contrast to this incredibly high number Japan has fewer than 0.06 deaths by firearm. Even our neighbor, Zimbabwe has almost 200 times less deaths by firearm than South Africa, coming in at 0.12 deaths per 100,000.

Japan has managed to reduce its gun related crimes to almost zero by making it virutually impossible to own a gun. They have some of the most onerous gun ownership regimes in the world. In fact, in 2006 only two gun related murders occurred in Japan.

Although we don’t have accurate statistics about illegal gun ownership in South Africa, estimates vary from between 1 – 6 million. We are however not talking about unlicensed guns. In fact, the majority of these firearms are stolen from the legal gun owner and then used in a crime. In 2014 the police and defense force had around 2,000 firearms stolen and 5,500 stolen from private citizens. 

There is no logical argument in support of citizen gun ownership. We need a gun free society in order to become a crime free society.