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- Volume 16, Issue 3, 2003
Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Volume 16, Issue 3, 2003
Volumes & issues
Volume 16, Issue 3, 2003
Author Johan PrinslooSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp I –III (2003)More Less
'Private prisons will necessarily be an improvement on public prisons because it would be almost impossible to perform any worse' (Institute for Security Studies (ISS), 2001). Two basic yet interrelated challenges to the South African correctional system, namely overcrowding and insufficient funding, motivated the Department of Correctional Services to approach the private sector to design, construct, finance and manage private prisons in South Africa. This is not unique since 'all new prisons in England and Wales are to be privately financed, designed, built and run' (Corporate Watch, 2000).
The murder of members of the South African Police Service : some findings on common causes and practical preventative stepsAuthor A. MinnaarSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 1 –27 (2003)More Less
For a number of years members of the police in South Africa have experienced exceptionally high levels of attack. In addition, the murder of members (both on and off duty) has, since 1990, averaged more than 200 per annum - which in comparison with most other countries world-wide would appear to be excessive. Prior to the first-ever democratic elections in South Africa held in April 1994 many of these attacks and killings were ascribed to a number of political motives or as part of the liberation struggle. However, the post-1994 continuation of the high levels of murder of police members has been of concern since the ostensible political reasons were supposedly removed in the wake of the 1994 democratic elections. In May 1999 a National Multi-disciplinary Committee was appointed by the Minister for Safety and Security. The Research Sub-committee of this Committee was instructed to examine the reasons why the attacks on and killing of police members has continued at such high levels and also to investigate what could be done to protect the members of the police service, not only in their work environment but also off duty and in their homes, from attacks and murder. This paper outlines some of the main findings of the research team and makes some recommendations with regard to practical steps to prevent such murders.
Author C.J. MoolmanSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 28 –34 (2003)More Less
While scrutinizing the literature and interviewing civilians and police officials, it became clear that a number of popular misconceptions exist about community policing. Change is never easy and some people are threatened by change because the known parameters are threatened by new, unknown parameters. The tendency therefore developed to overreact to something new, which is perceived to be a threat to the known. Unsubstantiated criticism is sometimes used in an effort to illustrate the unfeasibility of the intended change.
These misconceptions are discussed and deconstructed in this article. The author regards this exercise as essential in order to obtain a clear picture of what community policing entails. After analysing these misconceptions, the author adopts Trojanowitcz's definition of community policing and concludes that community policing entails community collaboration and the formation of partnerships. It also offers a practical approach to solving community problems and render police services at grassroots level. Community policing seeks the input and talents of all members of the community in the effort to safeguard our neighbourhoods. It is advocated by leaders at the highest levels of government. It has even been suggested that community policing can play a primary role in directing the way government services are provided at the community level.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 35 –49 (2003)More Less
Being part of a primary crime prevention approach, the private security industry continues to grow in size and importance. Formal criminal justice agencies are apparently incapable to satisfactorily address the issues of crime, crime prevention and fear of crime. Subsequent inadequate police protection resulting from suboptimal service delivery in the form of visible role fulfilment, necessary to create the illusion of omnipresence in the minds of prospective criminals, equally contributed towards the phenomenal growth of this industry. The strategic importance of private security in terms of the deployment of vast human and technological resources, including the presence of car guard activities in strategic public areas, makes it a formidable risk management and asset protection industry.
Formal regulation by means of the Security Industry Regulatory Authority (SIRA), which includes control over car guards, recently evoked media controversy about the viability of yet another "off-spring" of private security, amidst speculation that "vagrants" are now entering the ranks of honest, work-seeking people and pensioners. While this has lead to a "love-them-or-hate-them" situation in lieu of a much needed crime prevention strategy, the value of their presence in public parking areas lacking public police patrols, cannot be denied.
Mindful of the interplay between precipitating, attracting and precipitating factors in crime causation (Benjamin & Masters 1964), the visible presence of car guards, aimed at obliterating crime opportunities and motor vehicle theft in a rural town of KwaZulu-Natal, is a statistical reality. Functionally, car guards are perceived as friendly, helpful and courteous when dealing with the "parking" public. Carrying no firearms to safeguard motor vehicle theft from "territorial ramps" and their sense of caring for people's property, are equally credited. Car guards are, therefore, not regarded as "legal beggars", but rather as an asset in crime prevention.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 50 –65 (2003)More Less
Despite the serious nature of retail robberies, limited scientific research has been conducted concerning this phenomenon. Based on existing literature concerning robbery in general, an interview schedule was developed after which interviews were conducted with 20 retail staff who had been the victims of robberies. Information obtained from the respondents regarding the consequences of the retail robberies, as well as their experience of victimisation was interpreted, analysed and, where relevant, theories were applied to the results. These theories included the crisis theory, Janoff-Bulman and Frieze's approach to victim reactions and the attribution theory. On the basis of these theories a Model of the victim's experience after a retail robbery was formulated to serve as a framework for the study.
The impact of retail robbery was measured in terms of the financial, physical, emotional and social consequences for the victims. With regard to the financial consequences, it was evident that the gains from these robberies were primarily monetary in nature. As a result of the robberies, most of the respondents also indicated that they had improved the security measures in their stores, which included changing the routine of security guards, installing panic buttons, armed response and alarms, additional surveillance cameras, security gates, roller shutter doors, and electric fencing.
Only six (30%) of the respondents required medical treatment for various injuries, but it should be noted that the violence involved in retail robberies often results in physical injuries. Seven (35%) of the respondents also had to seek psychological treatment following the robberies. Nine (45%) respondents indicated that they were strongly affected by the robberies and two (10%) were mildly affected. Findings further indicate that this impact was reflected in the victims' work and social life being affected, nightmares, poor quality of life, fear, negative selfperceptions, and distrust of others. In line with the Model of the victim's experience after a retail robbery, adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms were also utilised by the respondents in order to alleviate distress.
Author M. OvensSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 67 –80 (2003)More Less
Any theorist striving to explore, understand, and explain a criminal phenomenon must take the value system, which is normally associated if not based upon the individual's traditional belief system, into account. In the African, and more specifically the South African context, tradition, culture and beliefs definitely exercise a great influence on the thoughts and actions of people. Criminologists in South African have become more aware of the need for criminological theory based upon the African experience. Certain problems are encountered when dealing with the issue of "an" African theory such as the issue of ethics and ethnicity. The plurality of cultures and racial and ethnic variety constitute African, and specifically South African, society. Further categories thwart any attempt to develop a theory for understanding and explaining crime in South African society. These include literate / illiterate, urbanised / non-urbanised, and the somewhat controversial categories of pre-modern, modern, and post-modern. The plurality of cultures in South Africa may cause researchers to resort to either absolutism or relativism in their assessment of other cultures, a situation that should be avoided.
The criminologist must find a scientific midway whereby an objective and empathetic evaluation of another persons "otherness" is possible using assessment tools that make provision for this "otherness" or uniqueness. Such a midway can be found by placing the offender within a framework which clearly provides and creates a setting for the characteristics of complexity, interconnectedness and mutual relationship.
Scientists should understand and apply an African approach to our criminal justice system and the persons that are caught up in this system, and thus refrain from the mistake of absolutism. The philosophy of "ubuntu" as a frame of reference when studying a segment of South African society, would thus avoid absolutism and relativism. These concepts must be understood and considered during the punishment, handling, treatment and rehabilitation of the black offender.
Author M.E. SmitSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 81 –88 (2003)More Less
Bullying behaviour can be described as one or more individuals inflicting physical, verbal, or emotional abuse on another individual. This includes, for example, threats of bodily harm, assault, gang activities and exclusion. Most researchers believe that bullying involves an imbalance of physical or psychological power, with the bully being stronger than the victim. According to Olweus, the results of a comprehensive survey carried out in Norway in 1983 indicated that of 140 000 pupils, 6 percent were identified as bullying and 9 percent as being bullied. Bullies are learners who need to feel powerful. What distinguishes them from someone who teases occasionally is the pattern of repeated physical or psychological intimidation. The pattern of behaviour can begin at a very early age. Children identified as bullies are at a greater risk for encountering problems in future, and thus early intervention is essential. In general, less is known about victims than bullies. Learners are victimised because of their physical appearance, mannerisms, or just because they don't fit in. Most victims are either anxious and insecure or hot-tempered and restless. Provocative victims are also at risk of becoming bullies themselves. Bullying in schools is nothing new. Bullying can be put to rest only when it is recognised and steps taken to prevent it. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Obviously, many situations in which bullying occurs involve some sort of conflict. Learners need to learn conflict management and resolution skills, which can help stop these bullying problems from developing. Schools can create an atmosphere where healthy choice-making is encouraged. The involvement of parents, educators and the community is essential in stopping bullying in schools. Children cannot learn effectively if they fear for their safety. Troubled learners - both bullies and victims - need a supportive environment to learn and develop. In the words of Dr Dan Olweus, "Every individual should have the right to be spared oppression and repeated, intensional humiliation, in school."
Author C. De WetSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 89 –106 (2003)More Less
Crime and violence have far-reaching consequences for education. These negatives may precipitate the collapse of a learning culture, and cause physical, emotional and psychological problems in both educators and learners. To establish a safe school environment, "a place where students can learn and teachers can teach in a warm and welcoming environment, free of intimidation and fear of violence", it is important to be informed of the nature and the scope of school violence, to be able to identify potential aggressors, and to become familiar with the most important causes of this type of violence. Against this background, an empirical investigation was conducted to determine a group of Eastern Cape educators' perceptions of school safety, and to record their experiences as victims of violent crime in school context. Moreover, an attempt was made to determine their perceptions of the causes of learner violence. The research instrument was a structured questionnaire.
The population of subjects consisted of educators, attached to schools located in the Eastern Cape. A sample of 250 educators was selected in terms of the principle of convenience. Of the 250 questionnaires that were handed out, 215 were suitable for processing.
From the investigation, it seems as if Eastern Cape schools are relatively safe. Some potential problem areas have been identified, namely the school grounds, empty classrooms, parking areas, and learner bathrooms. It seems that bullying, learner assault and robbery were the most general violent crimes committed against learners. Educators are, albeit to a lesser extent, the victims of robbers, (learner) bullies and learner assault. More than half the respondents held the view that violent acts at their respective schools had to be attributed to learners in general, and boys in particular. According to the respondents factors which often fall outside the control of the school, among others, poverty, unemployment, the disintegration of family life, the inability or unwillingness of the government to deal with violent criminals, and the availability of drugs and alcohol are seen as some of the most important causes of learner violence in Eastern Cape schools that are located in black townships and villages. To overcome learner violence and to establish a safe school environment therefore require the co-operation of leaders in education, the government, law enforcement agencies and community leaders.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 107 –123 (2003)More Less
Residential burglary is a serious problem in South Africa, considering its high occurrence rate and the financial and psychological impact it has on peoples' lives. Victims of residential burglary may rightfully ask why their residences were targeted and what they could have done to prevent it. Hypothetically, the answers might be found in the perceived vulnerability of a specific residence in time and space, and how the burglar relates to it. In the absence of effective and enduring crime prevention initiatives at the local level, individual households increasingly realise the need for self-protection as well as private security measures in their immediate environment. The aim of this article is thus to provide a conceptual framework that can be applied in the micro-environment to explain the occurrence of a burglary event and to suggest prevention measures and initiatives to curb this type of crime.
The conceptual framework was constructed on the theoretical perspectives gained through a burglary study conducted by Van Zyl (2002) in two case study areas in the Greater Pretoria metropolitan area, namely the police station areas of Pretoria West and Garsfontein. Although the study was designed within the qualitative research paradigm, both qualitative and quantitative techniques were used. Research data were gathered through primary (semi-structured interviews) and secondary (statistics and documents) sources. The analysis strategy applied in the study, can be described as "pattern-matching logic", where the initial conceptual framework served as a model against which the codified data could be evaluated.
The findings of the study confirmed the usefulness of the conceptual framework in that it provided an integrated understanding of the burglary process and gave a structured and systematic description of the components and elements involved in the burglary process. Central emphasis was placed on the situational conditions that might contribute to the vulnerability of residences. Consequently an integrated framework for the prevention of residential burglary was developed that integrates the efforts of individual households with those of the local communities and law enforcement agencies in the prevention of crime.
Author C.W. MaraisSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 124 –129 (2003)More Less
High levels of crime pose a serious threat to our emergent democracy. Violent crimes often lead to a tragic loss of life and injury, as well as the loss of possessions and livelihood. Crime results in the deprivation of the rights and dignity of citizens, and poses a threat to the peaceful resolution of differences and rightful participation of all in the democratic process. Crime is a costly and demoralising problem affecting us all. The victims of crime suffer injury, financial loss and intimidation. Those who live or work in "high crime" areas can be deprived of some of life's normal opportunities and pleasures by the social and economic impact of crime and the alienation and despair that accompanies the fear of crime. The state is unable to devote enough resources to deal with a wide variety of offences against both persons and property. The role and responsibility of crime prevention and the maintenance of law and order is an ever increasing responsibility placed on the shoulders of Local Authority Security.
In order to prevent crime, various approaches could be followed. In America, for instance, they follow the crime prevention coalition approach which is a nonpartisan, broad-based, interdisciplinary group concept. The Johannesburg Metropolitan Council has taken a new approach to crime with the implementation of the first First National Bank (FNB) "Smartbox" system at numerous points throughout the region. During the past few years, integration has become one of the premier issues in the security industry. An industry that was built on a foundation of physical security, with the infrastructure dominated by people with law enforcement and military backgrounds, has changed significantly as a result of new technologies. In fact, security technology has now migrated to become Security Information Technology. The question which remains is how can security effectiveness being improved? The following are a few suggestions: Identify the security needs; train your security personnel; conduct performance auditing at local government level; and hand out awards for effective service delivery.
Informal drinking and driving peer intervention : a baseline survey of a primary prevention programme among university studentsAuthor N. NuntsuSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 16, pp 130 –139 (2003)More Less
This paper is a report of a baseline survey, which was the first phase of a four-phase intervention research project aimed at developing a peer-led drinking and driving primary prevention programme. It examines the frequency and type of intervention used by students to prevent driving under the influence of alcohol, success and failure rates by gender, reaction to intervention by gender, success rate by relationship with intervenee and setting. Data were collected by means of self-administered questionnaires from a purposive sample of 111 undergraduate university students aged 17-24 years.
The data reveal that female students were more likely to intervene in DUI situations and to receive DUI interventions from others than their male counterparts. Respondents were most likely to intervene in situations involving their friends either of the same sex (64.4%) or the opposite sex (52.9%) than in situations involving strangers (21.0%). Interventions which were attempted in private settings such as one's own home (62.1%) and a friend's home (62.9%) were more conducive to intervention success than those which were attempted at public settings such as work (45.5%), restaurant (40.7%) and night-club (31.1%), with the exception of party settings (67.9%). The least acceptable interventions were forceful ones. It could therefore be reiterated and simultaneously qualified that university (college) students do intervene to prevent their peers from drinking and driving and their interventions are often successful.
These results have implications for policy makers, programme planners, academics and practitioners in the field of alcohol and traffic safety in terms of policy and programme formulation, curriculum development and service delivery respectively.