“Play is the highest form of research” – Albert Einstein
It has been said that a child’s laughter could simply be the most beautiful sound in the world and that children learn through play. But what happens when children’s opportunities to play are stifled by the reality of crime in their neighbourhoods?
Stats SA’s latest Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS), released this week, shows that due to fear of crime one in 3 households do not go to open spaces or walk alone in parks, and one in 5 households do not allow their children to play on their own in the area they live. Crime, therefore, impacts negatively on children’s ability to laugh, play, learn and grow.
If the provincial picture is considered, the majority (52%) of households in the Northern Cape indicated that they don’t go to open spaces or walk alone in parks in the area they live due to fear of crime, with only 13% of households in Limpopo province saying the same.
Households in the Western Cape had the highest percentage of households (42,9%) who indicated that they do not allow their children to play on their own in the area because of fear of crime, as well as not allowing their children to walk to school on their own (34,7%).
More than 40 percent of households headed by white (46,0%), Indian/Asian (43,3%) and coloured (42,9%) household heads indicated that they do not go to open spaces or walk alone in parks as a result of fear of crime, with 30,4% of African/Black headed households indicating the same.
African/Black headed households are less likely to prevent their children to play on their own in the area they live as a result of fear of crime (19,6%); 40,3% of White-headed households indicated that they do not allow their children to play on their own in the area they live due to fear of crime.
In the 2017 State of the Nation Address, President Zuma indicated that the fight against crime is an apex priority and that visible policing will increase, building on the successful pattern of deployments utilised during the Safer Festive Season Campaign. He also urged the public to work with the police to ensure safer communities. Let us hope that these initiatives will realise the NDP 2030 vision of a South Africa where everyone is safe and feels safe.
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