It has been said a child’s laughter is 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?
Read Gender activists dispute low sexual crimes stats
Stats SA’s latest Victims of Crime Survey released on 14 February, shows that due to fear of crime, one in three households do not go to open spaces or walk alone in parks, and one in five 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.
More than 40 per cent of households headed by white (46.0 percent), Indian/Asian (43.3 per cent) and coloured (42.9 percent) household heads indicated that they do not go to open spaces or walk alone in parks due to the fear of crime, with 30.4 per cent of African/black-headed households indicating the same.
African/black-headed households are less likely to prevent their children from playing on their own in the area they live in as a result of fear of crime (19.6 per cent); while 40.3 per cent of white-headed households indicated that they do not allow their children to play on their own in the area they live in due to a fear of crime.
In the 2017 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma indicated that the fight against crime was a priority and that visible policing would 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.
In a statement, Stats SA said, “Let us hope that these initiatives will realise the NDP [National Development Plan] 2030 vision of a South Africa where everyone is safe and feels safe.”