n Acta Criminologica : African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - Livestock theft : expanding on criminological profiling and offender assessment practices in South Africa

Special Edition 4
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


Criminological profiling and assessments of offenders have proved to be a valuable tool in the prediction and rehabilitation of criminal behaviour. However, such assessments have mostly been applied to violent types of crimes. Although economic crimes such as theft and fraud have not been neglected, the value and application of criminological profiling and the assessment of offenders who perpetrated the crime of livestock theft has not been fully explored. This article focuses on three case studies drawn from court case records and other-related literature of individuals who have been found guilty of livestock theft. The aim is to explore, describe and examine these case studies from a criminological perspective following an in-depth qualitative case study analysis. This analysis shows that livestock theft in particular is not a typical crime committed out of a need for immediate gratification of hunger (or so-called 'potslagting' [slaughtering for the pot]), but a crime that is committed by individuals who come from different socio-economic backgrounds, who have diverse social standings in society and who commit this type of crime for various reasons. The data includes a discussion on the motives, causes and contributory factors linked to the crime of livestock theft. Furthermore, the need to implement an Africanised approach to explain crime from a criminological point of view is briefly debated with particular reference to the explanation of livestock theft. Livestock are seen, not only as a commodity, but also as something that has cultural significance. Therefore, the contributory value of the application of criminological profiling and offender assessments towards the prevention and policing of livestock theft should not be overlooked.

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