There was a time when few of us were touched by crime. Then we all began to know somebody who had been affected by crime. Now each of us have our own stories of how we were stolen from, directly threatened by crime, or worse.
At a recent meeting, the 80-odd people in attendance were asked to name some of the crimes they had personally experienced. In short order, those present related house breaking, car theft, cell phone theft, fraud, assault, hijacking, armed robbery and murder - all experienced either by themselves or their immediate family, recently.
At almost any social occasion, you can find South Africans swapping stories about a brush with death or the long-hand of crime having stolen from them and their loved ones.
Crime is a reality that affects each one of us. The situation in South Africa got so bad that the government even placed a moratorium on crime statistics, forbidding the police to release statistics of incidents of crime in South Africa to the voters and tax payers they are meant to represent and serve.
A shocking new report by United Christian Action presents evidence that South Africa’s murder statistics are even worse than official statistics have so far admitted.
For every 1000 crimes committed in South Africa, only 430 criminals are arrested. Of these, only 77 are convicted and barely 8 of these are sentenced to two or more years of imprisonment. It is also calculated that South African convicts have a 94% recidivism rate (that is, 94% of all persons released after serving a sentence immediately become involved in crime again).
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." Proverbs 27:12
It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark. But Noah and his family survived the flood by building the Ark and stocking it in obedience to God (Genesis 6:11-22).
God led Joseph to use the years of plenty to store up sufficient grain to feed his people through the seven-year famine (Genesis 41:33-36).
One only has to look North of the Limpopo River to see a worse case scenario of what can go wrong. As Christians, we are to wisely anticipate danger and to make provision for times of scarcity. However, we are not to fear the future. We are to fear God alone. Yet, we are warned to plan for the future and prepare ourselves for adversity.
"… man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." Job 5:7