Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "The latest crime statistics in South Africa describe a worrying upward trend of violent crimes, and therefore as Catholics we need to translate our commitment into active participation to diminish violence in our communities", said Fr. Peter-John Pearson, head of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference.
The statistics recently published by the South African police show decreases in three of the four broad crime categories between April 2015 and March 2016, but an increase in violent crimes: homicides; attempted murder; violent assaults; rape and robbery with gravating circumstances.
Fr. Pearson offers some examples on how the faithful may commit themselves: by joining a local anti-crime forum such as a neighborhood watch or a street committee, to being part of a national campaign like Crime Stop and others.
The priest invites the faithful to boycott the purchase of stolen goods or of dubious origin in addition to drugs. "Do not play into the hands of criminals by creating a market for their illegal products and services. In many cases, someone was injured or even lost their life in the process leading up to those products appearing at your doorstep".
According to Fr. Pearson, the most alarming crimes are those committed by criminal organizations and called for a strengthening of the police intelligence "to identify, infiltrate and neutralize the syndicates responsible for crimes such as robberies and kidnappings".
The priest, finally recalls that in future reports on crimes, sexual violence are to be treated as a separate category. In fact, despite the statistics register a decline in alleged rapes in seven provinces, only 46% of the victims filed a complaint. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 10/10/2016)