SA Crime Quarterly - Volume 2012, Issue 41, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 2012, Issue 41, 2012
Author Chandre GouldSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012 (2012)More Less
Why are criminal acts in South Africa so violent? This is the question that Bill Dixon poses to criminologists in South Africa in this edition of SA Crime Quarterly. He also offers some insight into why it might be that South African academics and independent researchers have, on the whole, not focused on finding answers to this question - because instead they have tended to focus on how crime can be controlled by police. Dixon suggests that, for many cogent reasons, we have been distracted from trying to develop a better understanding of the context and motivation behind criminal violence because of a pre-occupation with policing.
Author Bill DixonSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 3 –10 (2012)More Less
A Country at War with Itself, Antony Altbeker's book about 'South Africa's crisis of crime', begins with the dramatic story of a robbery in which Altbeker himself was involved. One of the robbers is a man who Altbeker refers to only as 'Pointy Face'. Beyond the unusual shape of his chin, his high cheekbones and the hardness of his muscles, readers are told nothing about 'Pointy Face'. He is a man from nowhere, a man with no history, no life before or after the evening he confronted Altbeker and his companion as they sat in a Johannesburg fast-food joint eating steak rolls and slap chips. In the context of recent international debates about the purpose of criminology, this paper asks what criminology is for in a country like South Africa. After reviewing the development of criminology in South Africa over the last 25 years or so, it argues that important questions about why crime - and violent crime in particular - has remained so high in the post-apartheid era have not been either asked or answered. It suggests that an understandable concern with controlling crime more effectively has led to insufficient attention being paid to why it occurs in the first place. In the rush to make sure that 'Pointy Face' and people like him are caught, prosecuted and imprisoned, and lives and properties secured against their depredations, few serious attempts have been made to understand where the 'Pointy Faces' of contemporary South Africa come from and why they do what they do. The paper ends by suggesting some reasons why criminologists seem to have lost interest in understanding why crime happens and how researchers might begin to respond to this explanatory crisis.
Source: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 11 –19 (2012)More Less
This article offers an analysis of 1 886 rape dockets opened at 70 police stations in Gauteng Province in 2003. Multiple perpetrator rape ('gang rape') constituted 16% of all cases. Most of these incidents started when the victim was outdoors, either alone or accompanied, and occurred in the open or in a public space. In contrast, single perpetrator rape mostly occurs in a home. A key finding was that fewer than 40% of victims of either single or multiple perpetrator rape indicated that they had verbally or physically resisted the attacker. Yet in most cases perpetrators were not armed. Further, an analysis of J88 forms showed many victims had no injuries other than genital or anal injury. Injuries to other parts of the body were only found in 27% of single and 35% of multiple perpetrator rape victims. Although most victims reported to the police within 72 hours of the rape, the arrest rate was low, particularly for multiple perpetrator rapes (39%). The study showed that there are very important differences between single perpetrator and multiple perpetrator rape. It also points to a mismatch between perpetrators' accounts and police case reports, suggesting differences in under-reporting between these two types of rapes. Improvement of DNA testing and rape case arrests of multiple perpetrator rapes are matters of urgency, and reasons for differences in low arrest rates should be the next step in the examination of multiple rape cases.
Author Rika SnymanSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 21 –27 (2012)More Less
This article explores discretionary decision-making in a specific traffic police unit. This study was undertaken from a social constructivism perspective, using a single holistic case study design. The research involved presenting scenarios to traffic officials at different stages, first at the end of their training, and then again six months after they started work, to determine how they would deal with situations that required them to use their discretion. The study sought to understand the extent to which exposing newly recruited traffic officials to the realities of traffic road policing influenced their notions of discretionary decision-making. The findings suggest that there are gaps in the training of these traffic officers and it proposes that the existing pedagogical style of training be replaced with an andragogical one, focusing on judgment drills in ethical dilemmas.
Seeing the person, not just the number - needs-based rehabilitation of offenders in South African prisonsSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 29 –37 (2012)More Less
South Africa has one of the highest crime and recidivism rates in the world. Although widely accepted that crime is a complex and multi-nodal social phenomenon, it is indubitably causally linked to South Africa's historical and current socio-political circumstances, poverty and unemployment, as well as the ineffective rehabilitation and treatment of offenders. Anecdotal evidence suggests that offenders are often apportioned the blame for reoffending and written off as incorrigible, without any real reflection on the efficiency and/or relevance of the prison programmes to which they were subjected to begin with. Accurate and relevant assessment of criminogenic risk factors is not only connected to the major outcomes of meta-analyses, but forms the foundation for treatment-planning and decision-making pertaining to risk and safety, and ultimately abstinence from aberrant behaviour. This article critically addresses the issue of South African needs-based offender rehabilitation in a systemic and diagnostic manner by aligning theory with relevant case scenarios in order to expose the essence of the therapeutic challenges in the South African custodial environment.
Author Anine KrieglerSource: SA Crime Quarterly 2012, pp 39 –41 (2012)More Less
The ethical commentator, in response to the abject failure of the global war on drugs, the harms it generates and the apparent lunacy of its continuing application, may be forgiven for an appeal to scientism. Indeed, a common refrain among drug war critics is the need for social policy decision-making that sidesteps moralising and ideology, and instead focuses on 'the facts'. In The Drug Effect: Health, Crime and Society, Suzanne Fraser and David Moore have collected a range of voices that question the objectivity of the scientific approach, and, more fundamentally, the 'epistemological naiveté' of positivism - that is, the view that it is possible to produce objective, value-free knowledge about the world. Instead, they argue for constructionism, and the view that everything we think we know about 'drugs' is determined by discourse, values, history and politics. This isn't necessarily to say that there is nothing whatsoever material about matter (although the authors are interestingly inconsistent on this) and that a fatal heroin overdose is 'merely a discursive construction', but it is at the very least a warning that the supposed 'facts' may be no less subject to discourse and social norm than are the transparently moral judgements they wish to circumvent.