Community Policing In Muchipisi Village South Africa Criminology Essay

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The village that I focused my paper on is the Muchipisi Village which is located in the deep rural area of South Africa near Giyani. South Africa is a country plagued by crime, and the people were at the point where they are fed up with it. Some of the villagers started to take the law into their own hands. They had no confidence in the police whatsoever because the police were corrupted and did not actually do anything to reduce the crimes that were occurring. This issue led to many vigilante incidents. The South African police still believed in the traditional policing instead of community policing, where the police work with the villagers to solve any issues that were occurring. The police were very hesitant to share the responsibility with the community. The police tried to use all other possibilities instead of sharing the load with the community in order to create safety and a partnership with the community. A National Peace Accord agreement was reached which provided a code of conduct for the police. It stated " the police have an obligation to 'preserve the fundamental and constitutional rights of each individual in South Africa, to 'secure the favor and approval of the public', to use the least possible degree of force, to 'be sensitive to the 'balance between individual freedom and collective security' and to act in a professional and honest way." (Pelser, 1999).

The crime rate in South Africa began to dramatically increase in the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). This increase in the number of recorded crimes was greater in 1999 than in any previous year and violent crimes increased at a greater rate than any other crime. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). Also, the crime rates continued to steadily increase during 2000. However, crime overall is very difficult to measure since many crimes are not reported or are under reported for statistical purposes. In order for crime to be properly recorded in official police records witnesses or victims must actually report the crime and the police must file a report. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). Often times crime rates are under reported since the lesser the crime rate the "safer" the neighborhood or area is considered. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). There has been many different ways utilized to get accurate crime rates such as victimization surveys and collection of statistics. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001).

Historically, the collection of statistics in South Africa was further complicated by the divide between the police and the majority of the public, and the existence of different policing agencies. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). There is no direct answer as to why South Africa has such high crime rates. However many implies that the "country's ongoing political and socio-economic transition, the connection between the country's violent past and contemporary criminal behavior, the impact of the proliferation of firearms, the growth in organized crime, changes in the demographic composition of the country, and the consequences of a poorly performing criminal justice system." (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). The crime rates are related to the changes in government and the laws, it could be that the citizens of South Africa are restless because of the political change.

The police realize that their method of policing was not working so they began to incorporate community policing principles. The police wanted to maintain what they view as their established monopoly of the policing enterprise, while at the same time, and often in very instrumental ways, they use the language of partnerships and problem-solving to devolve responsibility for sticky and thorny security problems to civic and private groupings. (Schönteich & Louw, 2001). There is a great deal of tension between the public and the police officers in South Africa. The tension led to this study that I focused my paper on, which was trying to improve the relationship between the public and the community.

The study showed that members of the community views the police officers as distant and uncooperative. The officers did not do anything to reduce the amount of burglaries that was occurring in the village of Muchipisi. The youths of the community started to patrol the neighborhood from 11pm to 3am everyday of the week, but the patrolling started to interfere with their school work. The main objectives of this study was to "find out if the community was involved in policing matters, to determine whether there is cooperation between the police and the community, to establish whether community members are familiar with their legal rights and limitations." (Roelofse & Manganyi, 2011). Many of the villagers of the Muchipisi Village did not trust the police officers so they did not report any incidents they just took matters into their own hands.

The first objective of the study was to find out if the community has involvement with the police. The studies show that the police involves the community in the meetings. The second objective was to determine whether there is cooperation between the police and the community. There was not convincing information from the community that the police does not give them feedback on the crimes that are occurring and the progress that the officers have made in reducing the crimes. But the studies did show that the feedback was not organized. The third objective was "to establish whether community members are familiar with their legal rights and limitations." (Roelofse & Manganyi, 2011). The studies show that the police department organizes campaigns so the community members know about their rights and limitations, but the campaigns are irregular and not all of the community members know about them.

The fourth objective was to find out about how the police engage the community. the meetings with police officers and members of the community takes place at the end of each month, but the study showed that the meetings are held but the times are vary. The purpose of the meeting is the give the police officers insight to the problems that are occurring within the community and come up with possible solutions. At the meetings police officers talk about the crimes that are occurring and the steps that are being taken to reduce them. The study showed that "the police engage the community during meetings and also give feedback on crime, meaning that the community is kept informed about crime trends and hence police and community successes in combating crime." (Roelofse & Manganyi, 2011). This objective was achieved. The fifth objective was to "establish an effective way in which community policing can be promoted." (Roelofse & Manganyi, 2011). The study concluded that, "community policing can be promoted through proper consultation and communication to understand the root cause of social disorder and come up with possible solutions to the problem." (Roelofse & Manganyi, 2011).