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- Volume 26, Issue 1, 2013
Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Volume 26, Issue 1, 2013
Volumes & issues
Volume 26, Issue 1, 2013
Author Doraval GovenderSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp I –VI (2013)More Less
Criminal investigation is one of the key objectives of law enforcement. Whenever a criminal violation takes place, it becomes necessary to restore social order through the process of criminal investigation. The underlying premise of investigating a crime is to gather evidence and then to decide if there is sufficient evidence to indicate the suspects guilt and to institute prosecution. A criminal investigation docket is therefore opened for the obtaining of statements, documents and other information relating to the investigation. It is also important that investigating officers bear in mind rules of the law of evidence during their investigation, because not all information and exhibits are admissible as evidence. Each step in the investigation process is recorded in the investigation diary of the docket. When the investigation is completed, the docket is submitted to the prosecutor who must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the person suspected of having committed the crime. If the prosecutor has decided to prosecute the suspect, he/she will formulate the charge and decide when and in which court the trial will be heard. These documents will be sent to the investigating officer. The investigating officer is responsible for serving the summons/indictment/warrant on the accused and for ensuring that all the witnesses are also subpoenaed to be at the court on the particular day for the trial to take place. The docket is sent to the court a few days before the court date to enable the prosecutor to prepare the case for trial.
Author Camden BehrensSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 1 –17 (2013)More Less
This article highlights the challenges facing law enforcement officers when investigating 'muti'-related offences and makes recommendations with respect to overcoming those challenges. These offences are those stemming from the removal of human organs and tissue for the purpose of traditional medicine; including murder, assault as well as the mutilation of corpses. This article examines how these offences are perpetrated and considers the role of the buyer, the traditional healer, as well as the offender or offenders. The purpose of the muti and how the human tissue is utilised are also discussed. The article examines the role of the police in investigating these offences and considers the challenges they face. These include the fact that muti-related offences are not regarded as a specific crime in South Africa; the role of tradition in the commission of these offences; and how the beliefs of police officials influence the investigation of these crimes. The difficulties in detecting a muti crime and the challenges faced in identifying all the role-players - and not just the offender - are discussed. Problems associated with grave robbery and mortuary theft for the purposes of obtaining human tissue are also addressed. The study sets out to review, analyse and interpret the existing literature on muti crimes specifically in terms of the peculiar challenges presented by these crimes with respect to effective investigation and prevention. The article seeks to provide a profile of muti-related crimes and to identify some of the specific challenges faced by law enforcement in terms of investigating and preventing these crimes, in order to make recommendations on how some of these challenges may be overcome.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 18 –36 (2013)More Less
The publication of the 2011/2012 crime statistics sparked much debate. One of the big reasons for this debate had been the trustworthiness and quality of the statistics used to report on the different crimes. Theft of heritage objects is one such crime for which there are no statistics recorded on the Crime Administration System (CAS) of the South African Police Service. The scale and magnitude of thefts from museums and galleries is open to speculation. Hence for the research for this article museums and galleries in Gauteng were surveyed to quantify the incidents of thefts from these institutions for the period 2006-2010. Once the scale of the problem became known, it was possible to undertake further analyses, such as identifying targeted items and assessing the reporting of incidents to the police. The analysed data revealed not only a definite escalation in the number of items stolen from 2010 onwards, but also which kinds of items are normally targeted during thefts. Moreover, the data showed that almost 50 per cent of thefts from museums and galleries are not reported to the police. An analysis of the reported incidents indicated that the data pertaining to the item is captured incorrectly in about 50 percent of the cases. This translates into unsuccessful data searches on the CAS using museological criteria. The significance of these findings is vital for both law enforcement and the museums and galleries. The targeted institutions need to take all incidents of theft seriously and report even attempted theft to the police. Moreover, it is vital that the police consider the development of a separate crime code for heritage objects. This will not only ensure that data are captured more accurately, but it will make it possible to withdraw and analyse statistics to develop a better understanding of the manifestation of the problem.
Maritime piracy and conservation crime in Africa : has the die been cast for an environmental disaster?Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 37 –48 (2013)More Less
Maritime piracy or buccaneering, as it is also occasionally, albeit inexactly, referred to, despite being one of the world's oldest crimes, is only now garnering increased attention from academics as the phenomenon slowly becomes more pervasive. Typically piracy has been linked to its detrimental economic, international, trade route, security and humanitarian effect, but seldom has more than a passing glance been directed at the obtrusive potential for huge environmental damage within the conservation crime context. Although the inherent environmental dangers associated with maritime piracy have only been ephemerally alluded to, this area of concern has, as far as can be ascertained, not been extensively interrogated and/or afforded the status commensurate to its threat and potential to foment sinister and innovative criminality in the maritime crime arena. As no environmental disaster has yet occurred off the coast of Africa or elsewhere as the result of piracy, no empirical data is available for research. The authors have thus relied on secondary data from authoritative international organisations, responsible for various aspects of safety at sea, to map actual recent incidents and on which to base predictions. This article seeks to contextualise and expose the conservation crime threat that piracy poses and to serve not only as a caveat to both bureaucrats and practitioners regarding this imminent threat, but also to stimulate further interest, investigation, and research on this issue.
A study of contributory factors towards recidivism among incarcerated youth in the Barberton Youth Development Centre, South AfricaSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 49 –70 (2013)More Less
Falling back into crime (recidivism) remains one of the major problems of crime prevention. When youth offenders become recidivists, it is a very challenging phenomenon. This study sought to find some answers to the factors that are contributing to youth recidivism among the incarcerated youth in the Barberton Youth Development Centre. By interviewing incarcerated re-offenders, the researchers found that the typical recidivist in the study group was about 20 years old, had not finished school and was using some substance. The average period between incarcerations was 18,8 months and the standard deviation was 2,5 months. Peer influence and a structurally deficient family background were observed as some of the problems.
Author Theodore PetrusSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 71 –85 (2013)More Less
In South Africa, street gangs have become a significant challenge on various levels. In the cities of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, street gangs have been at the centre of widespread violence and other crimes. The specific emphasis of this article is to understand the social (re)organisation of the street gang, and how this relates to the question of meaning and identity, with specific reference to the coloured street gangs of South Africa. The focus of the article relates to the perception that street gangs are a characteristic feature of the coloured population group that predominates communities such as those found in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth and the ghettoes and townships of the Cape Flats in Cape Town. Thus, this brings into sharp focus the notion that coloured identity and the associated meanings of this identity may influence the creation and endurance of these specific types of street gangs. The article elucidates the symbolic meanings of coloured identity and locates these within a social, historical and cultural context and attempts to link these meanings to the continuing search for identity among particularly coloured youth. Through exploring some of the existing literature on South African street gangs, the author argues that it is the same dynamics that have impacted on the meanings of coloured identity that are a contributing factor to the formation and continuation of coloured street gangs which have become a symbol of the search for a social, political and cultural identity for the coloured youth, a search inherited from the past.
Source: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 86 –105 (2013)More Less
This article attempts to isolate risk and demographic variables which discriminate between first-time offenders and re-offenders. For this purpose a representative sample of 175 male offenders from the population of sentenced offenders at the Mangaung Correctional Centre near Bloemfontein was used: 81 (46.3%) were first-time offenders and 94 (53.7%) were re-offenders. The study specifically sets out to identify the main demographic and risk variables (including, amongst others, low education, being raised by someone other than one's parent, serving long sentences, peers' being involved in crime, and alcohol/drug abuse) and how they are linked to the risk of future recidivism. Significant differences emerged between first-time offenders and re-offenders both in demographic and risk variables. This study highlights the potential of these variables to predict future criminal behaviour.
Towards the demystification of gang rape : an investigative analysis of a sample of closed and unsolved gang rape cases in Port ElizabethSource: Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology 26, pp 106 –121 (2013)More Less
This article explores the phenomenon of gang rape incidents committed by strangers and makes recommendations for more effective preventative and investigative decision-making. The recommendations are based on empirical results obtained from an analysis of 90 closed and unsolved gang rape cases committed by strangers in Port Elizabeth between January 2007 and January 2008. An established docket analysis tool, referred to as a rape matrix, was used with the specific aims of exploring the value of docket analysis as an investigative tool in gang rape investigations and of gaining an improved understanding of the dynamics of gang rape incidents. Shortcomings were furthermore identified in the investigative decision-making and management of gang rape cases. Finally, the authors attempted to identify patterns and similarities amongst these closed and unsolved gang rape cases which could be indicative of repeat gang rape offenders. The results obtained from the docket analysis make a significant contribution to current knowledge on the dynamics of gang rape incidents and furthermore highlight two distinct patterns which were identified through the content analysis of these cases. This article demystifies some investigative complexities linked with gang rape incidents committed by strangers and highlights high-risk themes within a community-based setting which could prove useful in crime prevention initiatives.