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Crime is dominating our headlines

Crime continues to dominate the headlines.

Not a day goes by without some tragedy playing out in the country due to an apparent increase in crime.

The senseless murder of 4-year-old Taegrin Morris in Reiger Park and the hijacking of a father and his 5-year-old son near Bronkhorstspruit has shocked the nation.

And now, a three-year-old Luke Tibbets is fighting for his life after being caught-up in crossfire between gangs in Westbury.

Emotions are understandably running high. There is anger. Why are these ruthlesscriminals targeting our children?

CRIME DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE

Criminals have no respect for age, gender or colour. They have no respect for the rich, middle-class or poor. They have no respect for our lives and property. They won't let anything or anyone stand in the way of taking what is not theirs.

We must all work together and fight this scourge. We need to channel this outrage into something positive. It is our duty to blow the whistle on criminals by using tip-off servicessuch as Crime Line or Crime Stop.

We cannot sit on the sidelines and allow criminals to hold communities at ransom. We have to become active citizens and take a decisive stand against crime.

Community policing is vital. Both the police and communities must take the lead here and work closely together. If not, criminals will continue smiling all the way to the bank.

It's no secret that we have some rotten cops. The fact that so many continue to be arrested for crimes, including corruption, shows that these men and women in uniform have no respect for our laws.

They need to be charged, convicted and punished.

Let's not forget that the majority of police officers are hardworking, dedicated and committed. They risk their lives every day to protect us and these law enforcers need our support.We know that confidence in the South African Police Service (SAPS) is rather low. This does not mean that we don't have to work with them or support them to get criminals behind bars.

This is why it is vital to hold the police accountable and work with them to strengthen their role in our communities.We must continue to ensure that they serve citizens professionally. If they fail to do so, we must be free to criticize them and name and shame the culprits.

Some say the jury is still out about National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega.

She has been trying, albeit behind closed doors most of the time, to get the mess in the police sorted. It's no easy task.

Another way to improve public confidence in the SAPS is to ensure that the police leadership is on the ground constantly. They need to be seen and heard. They must lead this war on crime from the front.

Civil society and business must continue to support initiatives and efforts to create a safer South Africa.

Business Against Crime South Africa (BCCSA), the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), Operation Khanyisa, Tracker and the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT) are good examples of effective partnerships with law enforcement.

They need to be supported and strengthened.

Crime Line was launched seven years ago.This partnership with the police has seen thousands of criminals being arrested and millions of rands of counterfeit and stolen goods recovered.

The results speak for themselves. Thanks to ordinary members of the public, police continue to record these successes.

We must make it our moral and civic duty to blow the whistle on crime. We cannot sit back and allow criminals to terrorise our communities. For how long are we going to live in fear?

A number of mosques in the Johannesburg area were recently targeted by criminals. Here again, it shows that these gangs have absolutely no respect for our sacred places.

When worshippers go to pray, they need to do so feeling safe, feeling protected and having peace of mind.

Police cannot be visible everywhere. That's why it is up to us to be vigilant and we have to be the eyes and ears for authorities.

Community Police Forums (CPFs) are effective - but not effective enough. They also become targets for power struggles and corruption. CPFs need to beefed-up and the police need to give them more support.

THE QUESTION IS WHAT CAN ORDINARY CITIZENS DO TO FIGHT CRIME?

There are a number of communities that are using technology to create networks within their communities.

Join your local CPF or resident's association and ensure that you keep updated on crime alerts in your area. Empower and support your domestic worker through your local domestic forum.

Record your sector police numbers on your phone, including other emergency numbers.

Vigilance is key. Information is power.

Know who your neighbours are.

A support network in a community goes a long way in ensuring that suspicious vehicles and individuals are spotted and removed. Neighborhood watch initiatives are just as effective.

If you are driving home late, maintain contact with a family member and be aware of what is going on around you at all times.

If your kids are in the car, ensure that they do not distract you and teach them to also keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour.

In the spirit of Lead SA, stand up, do the right thing and make a difference. Someone, somewhere, somehow knows something about crime. SMS Crime Line on 32211 (costs R1) or call 08600 10111.

In October, Crime Line South Africa will be hosting the 2014 Crime Stoppers International Conference in Cape Town. It is aimed at educating and informing civilians, NGO's and law enforcement officials.

It's time!

The conference is traditionally a training conference, which brings the international community together to learn from each other.

Crime has no borders.

I challenge you to partner with us. It is in our hands to make a difference and create a society free of the terror of crime.

Lead SA celebrated it's 4th anniversary this week.

Let's all continue to Lead SA- "Stand up, do the right thing and make a difference."

Yusuf Abramjee is the Head of Crime Line and a Lead SA activist.