n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Victims' perception of attacks on farms and smallholdings in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The focus in this article is victims of farm and smallholding attacks in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. The study analysed the Crime Information Analysis Centre statistics, and empirically investigated, in 2004, the perceptions of 105 of a total of 527 victims of such attacks, which had occurred between 1997 and 2002. Of the 527 victims, 57 were murdered. The average victim was white and 51, 19 years old. Gender differences were minimal, and all races were represented, which supported previous findings that, although whites dominated farm ownership, all race and ethnic groups were potential victims. Statements from suspects indicated that the majority lived, worked, or had strong family ties living close to the targets selected. Of the eight police areas in the Eastern Cape, most attacks occurred in the East London area, and the fewest in Umtata. Such attacks were mainly committed outside the victim's residence. The telephonic interviews revealed that, although attacks were multi-causal, the victims perceived crime, namely robbery, as the primary cause. The majority also regarded farms as being soft targets. Resistance by victims had varied responses. The results question the police's advice not to show resistance, because in many cases such resistance contributed positively to the results of the attack. This was substantiated by 69, 69 percent of respondent who reported that their resistance positively contributed to the flow of events.

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