Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the world we live in. The world is currently struggling to control a global public health pandemic—COVID-19—that is spreading very fast with diverse levels of fatalities in different regions and countries. Starting in Wuhan, China in late 2019, COVID-19 has become a global epidemic within a very short time.
South Africa faces very different challenges to Western countries that have implemented lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus as they struggle to make substantial adjustments to their lives as Millions of people live in single rooms and cramped conditions in informal settlements or crowded inner-city buildings. Being forced to stay indoors for weeks could result in heightened tensions between people in households and between neighbours.
Sadly, South Africa has one of the world’s highest murder rates. This is the result of a culture of violence, a toxic mix of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
In the initial phase of the national lockdown, the heightened presence of the police and military on the streets, and fewer people moving around, reduced crimes such as street robbery, hijackings and theft. However, the security forces cannot be everywhere, all the time. This could mitigate against reductions in residential robberies and business burglaries going forward.
In addition, on Friday 08 May 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his decision to authorize the parole of low-risk offenders as a measure against the spread of the virus in prisons, which are considered high-risk areas for infection. DA MP – Glynnis Breytenbach said the party did not support Ramaphosa’s latest decision. “Many of the prisoners who stand to be released do not have families or homes to return to. Those who do may well return to a home where there is already little or no food,” she said. “Finding employment, difficult enough under the best of circumstances for those with a criminal record, will be impossible in the current economy.”
This unfortunately, leaves South African’s worried that there will be an increase in crime in the weeks to come.
An increase in crime can exacerbate existing tensions, break down social cohesion and public trust, and lead people taking the law into their own hands or to social unrest. This in turn will place further demands on the police and criminal-justice systems leading to increased securitization of COVID-19 responses.
Try reduce the chances of being affected by crime in our country by always remaining aware of your surroundings. Ensure you are partnered up with an Armed Reaction company such as TRSS where we are dedicated to your safety throughout this pandemic.