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Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
Print version ISSN 1021-2019


BEZUIDENHOUT, P C. Reducing crime in South Africa by enforcing traffic laws: a 'broken windscreen' approach. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2011, vol.53, n.1, pp.33-38. ISSN 2309-8775.

The situation on our country's roads has gradually deteriorated to the point where traffic laws are being broken at various levels on a daily basis with few or no consequences for the offenders. Something needs to be done to turn the current situation around and prevent further deterioration. A 'broken windscreen' approach is introduced as a possible solution, with the emphasis on traffic enforcement, and it may also contribute to the combating of crime in South Africa. The 'broken windows' theory and its implementation in New York City is briefly discussed to explain the concept. The difference between the broken windows and zero tolerance approaches is discussed from a local perspective, and the broken windows theory is then linked to the traffic situation in South Africa. The Safe Streets 1997 Program, which was based on the broken windows theory and implemented in Albuquerque, achieved a varying degree of success, and is discussed in this article. A critical link is then highlighted between traffic offences and more serious crime from the Safe Streets 1997 Program and also research conducted by the London Department of Transport (Knox & Silcock 2003). A broken windscreen approach is recommended in the light of the examples and data discussed.

Keywords : broken windows; traffic law enforcement; Safe Streets 1997 reducing crime; broken windscreen.

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