n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Local authority security : its role and responsibility in law enforcement

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High levels of crime pose a serious threat to our emergent democracy. Violent crimes often lead to a tragic loss of life and injury, as well as the loss of possessions and livelihood. Crime results in the deprivation of the rights and dignity of citizens, and poses a threat to the peaceful resolution of differences and rightful participation of all in the democratic process. Crime is a costly and demoralising problem affecting us all. The victims of crime suffer injury, financial loss and intimidation. Those who live or work in "high crime" areas can be deprived of some of life's normal opportunities and pleasures by the social and economic impact of crime and the alienation and despair that accompanies the fear of crime. The state is unable to devote enough resources to deal with a wide variety of offences against both persons and property. The role and responsibility of crime prevention and the maintenance of law and order is an ever increasing responsibility placed on the shoulders of Local Authority Security.

In order to prevent crime, various approaches could be followed. In America, for instance, they follow the crime prevention coalition approach which is a nonpartisan, broad-based, interdisciplinary group concept. The Johannesburg Metropolitan Council has taken a new approach to crime with the implementation of the first First National Bank (FNB) "Smartbox" system at numerous points throughout the region. During the past few years, integration has become one of the premier issues in the security industry. An industry that was built on a foundation of physical security, with the infrastructure dominated by people with law enforcement and military backgrounds, has changed significantly as a result of new technologies. In fact, security technology has now migrated to become Security Information Technology. The question which remains is how can security effectiveness being improved? The following are a few suggestions: Identify the security needs; train your security personnel; conduct performance auditing at local government level; and hand out awards for effective service delivery.


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