Kidnapping is one of the most common crimes in South Africa. The offence has continuously been on the rise; hence, it has become a cause for alarm. The government desires to see that the numbers of reported cases drop. This reason causes us to pause and figure out what measures one should take to bring down kidnapping in South Africa.
What is kidnapping? Why do people commit this crime? What are the consequences of being guilty of this crime? What measures should one take to avoid being a victim of a kidnapping in South Africa? These are some of the areas of concern that could play an essential role in ensuring that the trend changes. How about getting to know more details about the subject?
Kidnapping in South Africa
According to South African law, kidnapping refers to depriving an individual of their liberty and freedom of movement. For anyone below the age of 18, it refers to depriving them of their right to be under the care of their parents or rightful guardian. This means that if one interferes with the lawful custody of a minor, this act will also be considered as kidnapping.
These are some of the crucial details about the crime that you ought to be familiar with:
What are the main causes of kidnapping?
These are the three main types of kidnapping that highlight the reasons why this crime is committed:
The criminal type
This is the most common reason why people are abducted. The captor commits the offence to earn a ransom from his crime. In most cases, the criminal takes advantage of his hostages and demands for payment or favours.
The political type
This type of crime is associated with the political motives of a particular group. In this case, the ransom that is demanded is meant to finance the intentions of the kidnappers.
This type of abduction is conducted by someone who is emotionally unstable. It is common in cases where a child is born to alienated parents.
Why do people kidnap kids?
Even though there are three main types of kidnappings, children have always fallen victim to the crime. This is so because most children get caught up in the buzz of custody conflicts. The other cases of child kidnapping in South Africa result from other aforementioned reasons.
How to avoid a kidnapping attempt
These are some of the measures that parents could put in place to prevent the act from happening to their kids:
- Teaching children their names and their parents' contact details
- Teaching the kids on how to call the 10111 emergency number for help
- Teaching the kids to beware of strangers
- Teaching the kids not to be comfortable with strangers
Parents are also required to keep track of their kids' whereabouts. They should also ensure that they have the most recent photo of their kids. Also, they are required to set a formal procedure on who picks the kids from school.
How to survive a kidnapping attempt
In cases where you fall victim of the crime, several measures could come in handy in helping you survive:
- In case the attempt is made in a public place like a park, it will be prudent for you to cause as much commotion as possible to draw the attention of those around you. That will help reduce the chances of the situation escalating.
- If the attempt is made in a place like a hotel, you could consider screaming.
- In case the attempt is made in a confined space, do not struggle or try to resist. Cooperate with your captors even when they try using drugs, as captors use drugs to make you more manageable in order not to harm you.
- If you are forced into a trunk, try as hard as possible to control your breathing.
- Try to keep track of how much time it will take for your captors to transport you to the place where you will be held hostage.
- Try to notice the layout of the building where you will be held.
- Try to be mentally active and avoid being anxious. This will help you recall the details that could help you plan your escape.
- Be cautious of your surroundings by observing any distinguishable sounds and smells.
- In cases where you have been abducted alongside other people, try as much as possible to communicate with your fellow hostages.
- Try and observe the habits and schedules of your captors. This will help you plan your escape.
Missing children South Africa
According to the child abduction statistics in South Africa, 77% of the children that are abducted are usually found. These numbers are so saddening, especially for the 23% that are never found. As a result, the Missing Children South Africa is a non-profit organisation that helps trace missing children. The website also provides insight into the actions that one is required to take in case a child goes missing. It also helps in the search process.
The site encourages individuals not to wait for 24 hours before they report a case. Instead, the affected party is advised to report the incidents to the nearest police station after which they will be required to send the following details to the site's contact details:
- The name of the child that is missing
- The surrounding or location where the missing child was last seen
- The age of the missing child
- The most recent photo of the missing child
- The case number
- The name of the police officer that served you when you reported the case
These details could be sent to either of these contact details:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mobile number: 0726477464
- Fax: 08605803310
The site will then distribute flyers that could help locate the missing children.
Kidnapping in South Africa statistics
The most recent report indicated a rise in the number of kidnappings in the country. Kempton Park, which, to many, was regarded as an industrial area, had registered the highest number of cases. The park and its surroundings had recorded a 14.7% rise in reported incidents within one year. This accounted for 125 cases between April 2018 and March 2019.
Other regions like Gauteng province had registered the highest number of cases of recent kidnapping in South Africa. However, the numbers accounted for a 4.8% decrease in the reported cases. KwaZulu Natal had the second-highest in the statistics although the figures accounted for a decrease of 5.1%. Western Cape province broke the trend by being third on the list and registering a 4.7% increase in the number of cases.
More research was carried out to establish the cause of the crime, and it was determined that the causative factors of the abductions were sexual assault, robbery, ransom, hijacking, and domestic violence.
What is the minimum sentence for kidnapping?
If one is found guilty of kidnapping, their minimum sentence is five years in prison. However, in cases where the accused is charged with more than one charge, for instance, rape accompanied by body harm, and the victim is below 16 years old, the minimum charge is life imprisonment.
The statistics of kidnapping in South Africa are saddening. These details not only unveil how much effort everyone should put in to bring this menace down but also the preventive measures that ought to be taken.