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Refereed articles

Should fighting organised crime be a priority as South Africa deals with crime and human rights, and does the need to combat crime justify extraordinary measures that may limit rights?

Jean Redpath, who has systematically visited police stations and interviewed police officers, classifies crime as economic and violent crime. Most economic crime, in her view, is opportunistic.

Violent crime is divided into five categories: 1) murder, attempted murder and assaults; 2) domestic violence; 3) gang and organised crime-related violence; 4) violence for the sake of violence, and 5) "civil intolerance", "inter-group violence" or "urban terrorism". A common complaint of the police officers interviewed was a severe lack of resources and personnel. While government has prioritised fighting organised crime, this emphasis on well-resourced high-visibility policing ignores the importance of providing sufficient resources at local level so that ordinary policemen and women can do their jobs properly.

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