No one race owns face of crime

Image: STOCK

What is the face of crime? When someone is raped, murdered or hijacked, what is the image of the perpetrator that effortlessly comes to mind?

South Africa has for years now being pummelled senseless by a relentless crime wave that has exposed those in power often as clueless as to what to do about it.

A little more than a month ago, minister of police Bheki Cele sat in parliament with the SA Police Service top brass to make public horrifying crimes statistics - among them a numbing 57-a-day murders and about 110 rapes daily.

It was a repeat of a yearly ritual that appears to serve little other than feed our fears and paranoia about a monster many of us cannot do much to fight off as it gorges on us one family, one individual at a time.

The paranoia and fear now so prevalent is understandable given that which confronts the law-abiding citizenry, more so the most vulnerable among them - women and children.

At the moment, the nation is still reeling in shock at the news of the most gruesome rape stories imaginable.

Of all places readily associated with rape - the home, dark alleys, and nowadays, even public transport such as taxis - who would have thought a restaurant would perfectly fit in?

Today a mother has to deal with a six-year-old daughter who has been scarred for life, who will never regain the innocence that led her to venture into the eatery's play area, and the mother let her be in the false belief she was safe.

The little girl has now become just another statistic to be added to the count when next the minister briefs parliament on the tallies since the last time he rattled off numbers - and life, and murders, and rape, and assaults on women and children - will go on.

In the face of this incessant onslaught, the best defence ordinary folks have - is just to be paranoid and stay on alert.

Danger lurks in the most unlikely of places, and the big bad wolf waiting to pounce comes garbed in innocence.

No particular race owns the profile of a rapist, a murderer, any criminal. All types, especially men, are potential culprits.

Keep your eyes peeled at all times. We wish it didn't have to come to this but this is a lived reality in SA.

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