South Africa: Crime wave is engulfing schools
South Africa's Safe Schools call center has received hundreds of reports of crime, abuse, vandalism and gang violence only four months after the start of the school year, local daily Cape Times reported on Friday.
The reported quoted Western Cape provincial Education MEC Cameron Dugmore as saying that his department was "deeply concerned with the recent development and the high levels of burglary and vandalism".
Figures between January and April this year indicated disturbing trends. The latest statistics from the Safe Schools call center for the period indicated that there have been 270 reports of vandalism and burglaries, 174 reports of crime, 167 reports of abuse as well as 53 reports of gang-related violence and activities.
Last year, the figures included 139 reports of vandalism and burglaries, 157 reports of crime, a staggering 439 reports of abuse and 81 reports of gang violence.
Crime includes all forms of criminal activity such as pupils are in possession of drugs and weapons. There were 24 criminal cases reported in January followed by 52 in February, 79 in March and 19 last month.
Last year, the number of cases reported were 18 in January, 58 in February, 59 in March and 22 in April.
Abuse includes, among others, verbal and physical abuse, both between pupils and other pupils and between pupils and teachers.
Gang violence and gang-related incidents this year included nine reported cases in January, 21 in February, 19 in March and four last month compared to last year's figures of 14 in January, 12 in February, 39 in March and 16 in April.
However, the most dramatic leap has been in the number of burglaries and vandalism cases, which have almost tripled since 2005 - from 277 cases to 707 last year. This year, there were 85 reported cases of vandalism and burglaries in January, 38 in February, 70 in March and 77 last month. Last year there were 29 in January, 16 in February, 64 in March, and 30 in April.
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