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Global organised crime index likely to show increase in South Africa

Specialised protection services company Dragon said the prevalence of criminal networks engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, carjacking, motor vehicle theft and other illicit activities has reached alarming levels, posing a significant threat to the safety and well-being of South African citizens. 

The release of the Global Organised Crime Index 2023 is likely to show mafia-style criminal networks are on the increase in South Africa. 

The index, which will be released on Tuesday by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC), is set to reveal the continuing rise of organised crime globally, with 83% of the world’s population living in conditions of high criminality. 

The index ranks levels of criminality and resilience in 193 countries.  

Specialised protection services company Dragon said the prevalence of criminal networks engaged in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, carjacking, motor vehicle theft and other illicit activities has reached alarming levels, posing a significant threat to the safety and well-being of South African citizens. 

Ahead of the release of the index, said the data would show response frameworks have failed to meet the organised crime threat.  

Dragon, which has witnessed the detrimental impact of organised crime on society, is calling for government to take the index and organised crime seriously.

“Organised crime poses a significant threat to the safety, stability and prosperity of any nation. In recent South Africa has experienced a surge in the activities of organised criminal syndicates. Recently there has been a rise in kidnappings specifically targeting businessmen or their family members in exchange for exorbitant ransoms. The syndicates behind these kidnappings are highly organised,” said Trisha Parshotam, CEO Dragon Protection Services.  

Tackling organised crime is one of the state of the nation 2023 priorities.  

On the State of the Nation website, government said drug trafficking syndicates, gangs and other forms of organised crime present an urgent and growing challenge in South Africa.  

“The police are making progress in disrupting and preventing organised illegal activity. We also need to confront the criminal gangs that invade construction sites and other business places to extort money from companies.

“Government has embarked on a process of reform to improve the effectiveness of our fight against crime, corruption and sabotage. We have established specialised police units to work with business, private security and state-owned enterprises to tackle illegal mining, construction site extortion, cable theft and vandalism of economic infrastructure,” it said.

Parshotam said to dismantle the structures of organised crime, the challenge must be understood.

“South Africa’s geographical location, socio-economic disparities and historical factors have made it an attractive hub for organised crime. The illicit activities of criminal syndicates not only perpetuate violence and corruption but also undermine economic growth and inhibit foreign investment. The consequences are felt by all citizens as criminal networks infiltrate communities, exploit vulnerable individuals and erode trust in our institutions,” she said.   

Law enforcement agencies play a pivotal role in combating organised crime but are challenged with limited resources, inadequate training and the constant evolution of criminal tactics.   

“It is essential for government to provide these agencies with the necessary tools, technologies and training to effectively investigate and prosecute organised crime. Additionally, stronger collaboration and information-sharing between different law enforcement bodies at regional, national and international levels are imperative to disrupt criminal networks,” said Parshotam.  

She said the “complex and multifaceted” challenge demanded a united front.   

“The battle against criminal syndicates requires a collaborative approach that brings together government agencies, law enforcement bodies, private security companies and the public. Collaboration between security companies and law enforcement agencies can help bridge gaps, enhance capabilities and foster a more comprehensive approach to combating organised crime.”

“By strengthening law enforcement capabilities, fostering public awareness and facilitating partnerships between stakeholders, we can dismantle the structures of organised crime and restore safety and security.” 

Source: Times Live – https://www.timeslive.co.za/amp/news/south-africa/2023-09-25-global-organised-crime-index-likely-to-show-increase-in-south-africa/

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