In the African context, there is no such thing as an individual crime. At some level, any crime entails corporate responsibility and the community needs to be involved in restoring harmony. For example, consider what happened a few weeks ago at one of our friend's churches:
Recently, a young man from Silanga was caught stealing. He was caught in the act and apprehended by bystanders. The group proceeded to beat the young man for his crime, and then handed him over to the local police. While in police custody, it was discovered that this young man was part of a criminal gang which had been terrorizing residents of the community, attacking, stealing, and even murdering individuals as they walked home at night. The boy, however, managed to escape from a police van while in transit.
Residents of the community were greatly angered when they heard that the young man had gone free. A mob formed and went to visit the boy’s home in Kibera. When his parents heard that a mob was on its way, they ran to the local church (where they were active members) and locked themselves inside.
The mob surrounded the church and forced their way in. Despite efforts to intervene from the local pastor, the mob proceeded to beat the boy’s father and mother for failing to instil discipline in their child. The parents were told that if the boy ever returned to the city, he would be killed. The young man is now in his village and has no plans to return to the city.