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The South African crime wave

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  1. Introduction - The murder capital of the world.
  2. Putting the crime wave in context.
  3. Roots of the crime wave.
  4. Exacerbation during the transition.
  5. Sustaining factors under the new government.
  6. Conclusion.

In 1997 South Africa had the highest murder rate in the world.1 For the period 1998 - 2000, it slipped to number two, losing the top spot to Colombia, but retained the number one position (per capita) in murders with firearms, rapes, and assaults.2 While there is some controversy regarding the accuracy of the data, there is little doubt that South Africa has been and remains among the most violent countries in the world.3 Where did all this crime and come from? There is a common belief among some South Africans that the country experienced a huge crime wave starting in 1994, when the new ANC-led government came to power.4 This belief is false. The recent dramatic upsurge in violent crime began in 1990, not 1994, but crime has been high in many parts of the country since as far back as the 1950's.5 In this paper I will argue that the present South African crime wave has its roots in the policies of the apartheid-era government, was exacerbated during the political transition in the early 1990's, and continues to be sustained by some factors which are legacies of the old government, and some factors which are new to the post-apartheid era.

[...] p Shaw, p Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems Shaw, p Louw, p140- Shaw, p Louw, p140- Shaw, p Shaw, p South African Institute of Race Relations. A Survey of Race Relations - 57. Johannesburg: SAIRR, p228-229, cited in Shaw, p Shaw, p Louw, p Luiz, John. "Temporal Association, The Dynamics of Crime, and Their Economic Determinants." Social Indicators Research. vol 53 no 1 (January 2001). p33-61; p34- Thompson, Leonard. A History of South Africa. [...]


[...] "SA Minister Defends Crime Remark." June accessed online on June at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/- /2/hi/africa/5102578.stm 54. Shaw, p Shaw, p du Plessis and Louw, p8. Bibliography BBC News. "SA Minister Defends Crime Remark." June accessed online on June at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/- /2/hi/africa/5102578.stm Brewer, John. "Crime and Control." in John Brewer Restructuring South Africa. London: Macmillan cited in Shaw, Mark. Crime and Policing in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Transforming Under Fire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press Brown, Kay. "The Determinants of Crime in South Africa." The South African Journal of Economics. vol 69 no 2 (June 2001) p269-298. [...]


[...] The History of the South African Police, 1913- 1988. Pretoria: Promedia p.374. cited in Shaw, Mark. Crime and Policing in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Transforming Under Fire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press du Plessis, Anton and Louw, Antoinette. "Crime and Crime Prevention in South Africa: 10 Years After." Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice (2005) 427-446. Gastrow, Peter. Organized Crime in South Africa: An Assessment of its Nature and Origins. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies. Monograph 28. August 1998. cited in Shaw, Mark. [...]

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