n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The role of social media in livestock theft : a case study

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The development of social media in South Africa and the use of social media in general by the criminal justice system will firstly be discussed and then the focus will move to the role of the social media in solving livestock theft crime. Formal social networks are explored and analysed within the context of a social networks analysis. The purpose of the article is to determine if social media networks in collaboration with more formal social networks contribute to the apprehension of the offenders as well as involving other related information that could lead to reduction in livestock theft. This entails an exploration of the various formal and informal social networks and their successes and failures in the solving of livestock theft crimes. The forming of the social media group for one specific crime is unique in the world and could seriously contribute to the changes in social policies within the criminal justice system. Case studies from the social media group on Facebook are used to illustrate how social media was used to identify possible livestock theft suspects and the interrelationships between the various role-players. This would include the community at large who contributed to the apprehension of offenders, locating of stolen livestock and the identification and tracking of owners. The case studies are compared in order to identify possible common denominators that influence the relationships and trust between the public and the roleplayers in the criminal justice system, the relationships between organised agriculture and the criminal justice system and lessons to be learnt from these experiences.

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