Saturday, November 07, 2009

Germans tell Joburgers, tear down your walls!

Ze German liberals have an idea. Not content leaving people defenceless by stripping them of gun ownership which an earlier story proved works in the hands of homeowners, more kool-aid drinking liberal numbnuts have followed up with another love-they-criminal suggestion.

The reason for the high crime they say is because of the walls. Remove the physical barriers between you and the criminal savages wandering the suburbs and somehow it will stop criminals entering your property because you will have shown them the love, or something.

Y'see, sorry..getting teary now.. the reason for the crime is that we don't show criminals the love, and the walls are not to prevent crime, no sirree, it is because deep down we are all racists and criminals attack because we are hurting their feelings. Yes, racist, that old canard.. still good for flinging at us 16 years after apartheid. Not that it has any meaning left to us Saffas, maybe back in Deutschland it works fine but not to a people hammered by real fear living in a real crime hellhole.

These walls that divide us: fighting Fortress Johannesburg

Johannesburg - The Goethe-Institut is fighting the battle of Johannesburg - but will the walls come tumbling down?

To mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German cultural institute is leading the charge on the barriers that the people of Johannesburg have erected around their homes - and hearts - in response to the country's towering crime rates.

On Monday, the Institut will rip out a section of the high brick wall that surrounds its own building in the city's leafy northern suburbs.

By exposing itself thus, the Goethe hopes to draw more people into the centre, which promotes both German and African culture through a year-round programme of events and classes.

The Germans are also hoping that their actions will inspire South Africans to rethink the walls that segregate the country along social lines 15 years after the official end of racial segregation.

One of the first things that strikes people on coming to Johannesburg is how, not just homes, but shops, museums, cafes and other places that thrive on social interaction are often sealed off from view behind high walls.

While most blame the country's high levels of violent crime - some of the highest in the world - researchers say South Africans began barricading their homes long before crime spiralled out of control in the early 1990s.

'Fear of crime is often used to justify spatially separate urban forms in ways that disguise other motivations,' Professor Jo Beall, a researcher at the London School of Economics wrote in a 2002 study on Johannesburg, entitled 'The People Behind the Walls.'

Fear of crime, Beall noted, was sometimes code for fear of difference in a population, where blacks and whites were forcibly kept apart for decades, leaving a legacy of deep mistrust.

'We still have walls in our heads,' admits Denis Goldberg, a veteran of the anti-apartheid movement who spent 24 years in prison for resisting racist rule.

Today, walls warning of an 'armed response' to crime run the entire length of suburban streets and gated communities are ubiquitous.

Ironically, while sucking the life out of the street, the walls, which now serve as a marker of class, rather than race, have singularly failed to knock property crime over the head, statistics show.

Over the past five years, while the number of burglaries has decreased, the number of armed robberies at homes has nearly doubled, to 18,438 reported cases in 2008/2009.

'Walls do not necessarily make us safer. And in some cases I think walls make us a lot less safe,' according to Barbara Holtmann, head of the Social Crime Prevention unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Whereas in the past burglars would wait until the occupants were out of the house to pounce, the walls meant robbers often needed the victim to be there to provide access - at gun- or knife-point.

Once inside, the threat of violence being used against the victim was also greater, says Holtmann, because 'nobody can see what they (criminals) are doing and they can do whatever they like.'

'If I bought a house with a wall, I'd tear it down,' declares Stuart McClarty.

McClarty, a father of three and owner of a catering business, lives in a stand-alone house in the northern suburbs, about 10 minutes drive from the Goethe-Institut.

His neighbours on either side of him have erected walls, but the beefy McClarty has opted instead for a high palisade fence, in the belief that being attuned to his surroundings make him safer.

In their five years on the street the family have had no break-ins - an exceptional record for the area.

'We need to start encouraging people to engage in a bit of a mindshift about what makes them safe and what kind of boundary they need between themselves and the world,' Holtmann says.

A simple 'hello' might be just the ticket, according to one campaign.

The founders of Stop Crime Say Hello website believe that by showing others more respect 'we will see dramatic decreases in violence in our country.'

'For some this may mean doing things as simple as smiling at a car guard and saying hello.'


6 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

I agree. Palisade fencing together with plenty of razor blade wire is better than a wall.You can see who is lurking on the outside and if it comes to it - the palisade fencing will not stop your bullets and not provide cover for the criminals - as a wall would.
Just wondering how protected Mrs.
Holtman lives?

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of "pie in the sky" wankers.

Anonymous said...

"The founders of Stop Crime Say Hello website believe that by showing others more respect 'we will see dramatic decreases in violence in our country.'"

"'For some this may mean doing things as simple as smiling at a car guard and saying hello.'"

So there you have it; it is our fault. We just don't smile and say hello enough.

Anonymous said...

While palisade fencing provides visibility, it means squat when it is pitch black outside and someone is using a steel bar to bend the angle iron. Give me a solid wall anytime with 1m electric fencing above and two rotts. If palisading worked, our prisons would be built with them.

Anonymous said...

And will they remove their alarm system too?

Anonymous said...

You gotta love those liberals. As long as the crims are pegging them off one by one, they're thinning the hippie herd of the future.