n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Victim's experience after a retail robbery : an integrated model

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



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 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.

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