Pistorius Case Highlights South Africa’s Gun Culture

In South Africa, where robberies are frequent, Blade Runner's case brings a new focus.

Olympian Oscar Pistorius’ defense, that he heard what he thought was an intruder, which caused him to shoot and kill his girlfriend, might sound crazy, but his case is highlighting the violent atmosphere in South Africa, reports CNN.

In the past year, more than 50% of South Africans told the country’s police force that they’re afraid. The number of home burglaries across the country of 50 million have more than doubled. They totaled 9,063 in a 12-month period spanning 2002/2003; seven years later, it was up 18,786. And in a similar period ending in 2012, reported break-ins dipped to 16,766, according to South Africa’s crime reporting body, the Institute for Security Studies.

The international group Gunpolicy.org reports that there are about 6 million licensed firearms in South Africa.

“The paranoia about being a victim of a house robbery is understandable,” said the group’s small arms researcher Lauren Tracey. “Victims are relatively helpless against these attacks.”

It’s common to see armed guards patrolling gated, middle-class neighborhoods.

Read more at CNN.