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by John Cartwright and Clifford Shearing (Mercury)
With its bright cover and unusually colourful presentation style, this little book shouts at us to think more carefully and more strategically about the high crime rate in the country and not just focus on reactive measures and leave everything to the government and its stretched police service.
The authors are well-travelled Cape Town-based academics who have both been involved in civic affairs and safety and security, and have researched and written on not only South Africa but several other countries, including Brazil and Northern Ireland.
To quote one of their key paragraphs from the 150 pages, we have to give fresh thought to where specific problems come from in our communities, who has the knowledge to help resolve them and how this knowledge can be mobilised and made effective.
With widespread criminal activity also being a product of political/social transition, the authors wish us to imagine the country we would like to be living in and then figure out steps to reach that situation.
By the way, the “chicken” in the title is not linked to the chicken run to Perth but something that is quite the contrary in terms of thinking constructively about the causes of crime and possible solutions involving the whole of society. – Carl Peters