Crime, what crime? Doom-mongers eat words

Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:25am EDT
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By Barry Moody

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African newspaper recently published a cartoon showing British tabloid journalists at an "Eat your Words" dinner, tucking into their articles predicting mayhem and murder at the World Cup.

The cartoon by Zapiro, South Africa's most famous cartoonist, was revenge for stories that had predicted everything from a racist bloodbath by machete-wielding gangs to poisonous snakes that could kill entire teams.

The journalists' dessert was shown as Humble Pie.

In the event, the tournament passed off remarkably crime free, with only petty thefts that were mostly solved with impressive speed and just as quickly processed by special World Cup courts handing down often draconian sentences within days.

There have been no tournament-related reports of the murder, carjacking or rape let alone terrorism, that had been predicted.

Security analysts and police confirmed that crime figures were very low in World Cup-related venues although anecdotal reports of lower crime elsewhere cannot be confirmed.

"Crime reporting around the areas where the events took place was at its bare minimum," police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told Reuters.

Many foreign visitors were baffled by what they found.   Continued...

<p>Fans hold up a South African flag before the 2010 World Cup opening match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>