South Africa’s high incidence of crime is going viral, with footage from CCTV and private security, reflecting some of the country’s most shocking and brutal crimes, making its way on to YouTube.
In one of the most shocking incidents, Durban man Ryan Sutherland and a friend are ambushed by two men with a panga and knife, hidden in bushes outside Sutherland’s home in 2013. A third man joins in the attack, which sees them stab Sutherland twice, then enter his home through the kitchen, terrifying a woman inside. – Watch footage as Ryan talks about leaving South Africa. A recent study showed that 1 in 3 white South Africans are thinking about leaving South Africa permanently. Also see how the police are playing it down as usual. With over 50 murders a day according to our latest crime stats, one cannot continue to deny the obvious any longer.
One of the men grabs a cellphone before exiting the home – and the entire ordeal is captured in less than two minutes of video.
In another clip, four men break into what appears to be the business premises of a Cape Town fabric company. Within less than two minutes they steal two laptops and two computer towers, and flee the scene.
Gus Silber, journalist and social media expert, said security footage of crimes had always been around, but that there had been an upsurge in the number of these videos being posted online.
“These videos are just like news on any other form of social media. There has definitely been an increase, but it’s hard to say why. It could be just for the sake of putting something sensational on the internet, or people sharing their own experiences with crime,” he said.
Comments made on the videos seem to suggest the latter; on a video clip highlighting gang shootings in Manenberg, some commented on their frustration with crime and the perceived inefficiency of the police. About 21 gunshots can be heard during the 71-second clip.
Sakuta Yaya comments that people who don’t live in such areas shouldn’t try to quell “the Pagad uprising”.
Silber said the videos might also be posted as a warning to others, or even to help identify culprits caught on film. But while they could be used for a range of purposes, he pointed to a negative element.
“By manipulating the footage you can easily make it look like someone is committing a crime when they aren’t,” he warned.
Gareth Newham, head of governance, crime and justice at the Institute for Security Studies, believes however that the majority of the videos are being posted for pure shock value. “There is definitely a voyeuristic element in these videos. It’s about seeing or experiencing things out of the ordinary, and the shock of entertainment.
“If you really wanted to warn people on how to avoid becoming a victim of crime, you could simply make a video on it without the violence,” he said, adding that such content could also make people unduly paranoid.
“With the vast amount of footage it can seem like these incidents are a normal occurrence, but we know they’re not. Unless people exercise self-awareness this can lead to serious misconceptions.
“An international tourist may see footage and decide that South Africa is far too dangerous to visit. Most people will know that every country has issues with violence and crime, and that these are often the worst and most sensational examples, but not everyone will consider that before passing judgment,” he said.
Silber was adamant that the positives outweighed these negatives.
“Whether these video clips are put on as warnings or for shock value, they can still help solve crimes. The case of the petrol jockey killed in Cape Town a while ago proved that it can, by identifying the suspect’s vehicle.”
He suggested a specialised unit to examine footage posted on YouTube to identify perpetrators may be useful.
Nyanga cluster commander Major-General Robbie Roberts said he would welcome any sort of footage during a criminal investigation. “As long as we can identify the face of a suspect, it is enough to give us a lead. And we welcome any such footage. We have used such methods in the past, and will use them again in the future,” he added.
See official crime stats SA: http://www.saps.gov.za/resource_centre/publications/statistics/crimestats/2014/crime_stats.php
Source: Independant Online
By KOWTHAR SOLOMONS