The war against the causes of crime: Advocacy for social crime prevention in the face of tougher law enforcement


  • David Bruce
  • Chandré Gould



crime, social crime prevention, South Africa, National Crime Prevention Strategy, violence,


Since the release of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) in May 1996, social crime prevention has been a key concept in debates about how to address the problems of crime and violence in South Africa. Many in the civil society policy community firmly believe that social crime prevention, if properly implemented, will be effective in addressing crime and violence. Since the late 1990s there has also been a pervasive sense of disappointment and frustration amongst those who support social crime prevention about what is perceived as a failure of the state to back this agenda. There is a view that this is due to the fact that the state favours 'law enforcement', because it holds out the promise of quick results. It is true that the issue of social crime prevention is entirely absent from the current government discourse on crime, which is characterised by a strong emphasis on robust policing measures. But is it true that the main obstacle to social crime prevention is a law enforcement orientated mindset on the part of government – or are there other obstacles to the social crime prevention agenda?


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