Borrie La Grange
Universities to help with crime analysis
The police want researchers and universities to become their allies in the fight against crime — so they can work smarter and not just harder.
Think tanks would play a more prominent role in researching and analysing the causes of crime by adopting police stations and advising police commanders.
Deputy national police commissioner Andre Pruis told a post-crime statistics seminar at the Institute for Security Studies that the time was right for researchers and academics to collaborate with the police in preventing "social fabric crimes".
"Now is the time for academics and researchers to tackle this … I can't address the souls of the people, " Pruis said.
He said the challenge was in completing the socio-economic profiles of the communities served by the 169 priority police stations where crime was particularly prevalent.
" I would like to see universities and research institutions 'adopting' police stations to determine the causes of crime [in their communities]," he said.
Pruis said researchers could help develop quick fixes, and also develop medium- and long-term solutions to crime.
Chris de Kock, head of police crime information management, said the annual crime report and statistics for every police station in South Africa was the backbone of operational planning.
"This [the statistics] is 80 percent, or even 90 percent, of crime intelligence. The other bit is more focused on organised crime and we get that in a different way," he said.
Eric Pelser, of the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention, in Cape Town, welcomed Pruis's call, but said non-government organisations have for years struggled to persuade a reluctant police service to implement his proposals.
"In recent years, there has been a realisation that a more integrated approach to crime at a local level is needed, and that dealing with crime is not solely dependent on policing," Pelser said.
He said the government now acknowledged that different players could provide useful information to policy makers and was considering Pruis's suggestion. He said the government is commissioning a survey by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation into the causes of violent crime.
In The Times