For those who became curious about crime and crime prevention in Mozambique after our last discussion, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa released their report on the subject this past week and it is available here.
I will write more about it soon, but in the meantime, I’d like to highlight some of its content:
One thing that I found useful was their assessment of the drivers of crime in Mozambique. In line with popular theories linking it to skewed patterns of development and poverty, OSISA points to inequality as a main cause for crime, along with urbanization, corruption, organized crime, centralization, lack of opportunities for youth, victimization of women and children, high numbers of street dwellers, culture of violence, weak criminal justice system, prevalence of HIV/AIDS, rise in vigilantism, damaging customary practices and local beliefs, and trafficking along the coastlines and land corridors. “While none of these factors in isolation cause crime and violence” says OSISA, “all contribute to the challenges faced by Mozambique”.
They also have a section analyzing the main challenges to tackling the problem, which are, in their opinion: 1) Lack of opportunities for youth, 2) Marginalized role of local government, 3) Lack of engagement of the private sector, 4) Limited research and knowledge sharing on crime and violence prevention, 5) Absence of debate on security sector reform, 6) Parenting and early childhood development not prioritized, 7) Religious sector not fully engaged, 8 ) Poor support for displaced people, and 9) Disconnect between national policies and programs and local realities.
Of those, the lack of engagement of the private sector and disconnect between national policies and programs and local realities seem particularly bothersome to me, since they are provoked by ignorance and careless behavior more than by contextual reasons. They also mean there is a waste of effort and resources in the area.
There is also an “absence of support for unemployed and out-of-school youth”, found to be main drivers of crime, in comparison with women and children. While attention to female and children victimization is important, the report suggests that the concentration of funds and efforts in these two groups has been marginalizing the much needed attention to the latter two.
In the next opportunity, I’ll address their findings on promising programs and recommendations. Stay tuned.