n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Community involvement in the criminal justice system

Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



South African crime statistics show a general decrease in the commission of serious crimes and a proportional increase in minor crimes. The challenge for the criminal justice system is to devise effective measures that could reduce the commission of minor crimes. There is a strong belief that minor crimes could be effectively dealt with through increased levels of community participation in the criminal justice system. The current perception in South Africa is that the public is reluctant to get involved in the criminal justice system, thus making it difficult for the criminal justice system to successfully deal with minor crimes.

Textual and empirical research was conducted in the Criminal Justice Departments of South Africa and the San Diego County of the United States of America. This study sought to search for practices or methods that would forge greater cooperation between the public and the criminal justice system. It revealed that San Diego's structured and state run victim / witness assistance programmes encourage people's involvement in the criminal justice system and has a positive impact in dealing with the reporting of crime in general.

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