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Crime combating and the police September 2012 Johan Burger

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Presentation on theme: "Crime combating and the police September 2012 Johan Burger"— Presentation transcript:

1 Crime combating and the police September 2012 Johan Burger

2 Presentation Outline Photo’s from the M & G The impossible mandate
UN guidelines on the prevention of crime Factors contributing to crime Relationships, motives & conditions for crime Inequality and crime Burglary, commercial crime & shoplifting Unemployment & poverty rates Crime and decreases in the UK The root of evil & again the impossible mandate Are we solving the problem & do we need more police? Crime control and the police Can the police prevent crime? Crime combating model Presentation Outline

3 Photo’s from the Mail & Guardian
Causes Protests Implications

4 The impossible mandate
Section 205 (3) of the SA Constitution re the ‘objects’ of the SA Police Service: to prevent, combat and investigate crime; to maintain public order; to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their property; and to uphold and enforce the law

5 Defining crime prevention
UN Guidelines on the Prevention of Crime (2002): ‘crime prevention comprises strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring, and their potential harmful effects on individuals and society, including fear of crime, by intervening to influence their multiple causes’

6 Factors contributing to crime & violence
High levels of crime & violence Socio-economic conditions Attitudes to crime/violence Facilitating factors Weak regulatory systems + + + = Urbanisation & poor infra-structure Poor housing Poverty and unemploym. Dysfunctional families, schools, etc Low levels of education Absence of after school & childcare, recreational facilities, etc Early experiences of violence Culture of violence Ready rationali-sation of crimi-nality Poor socialisation Poor anger- and conflict management Status of women & children Alcohol Drugs Gangs Firearms Poor urban design Lack of safe public trans-port Xenophobia Weaknesses in CJS (training, resources, corruption, etc.) Poor law enforcement (incl. by-laws) Weaknesses in licensing system Weaknesses in transport regu-lation (e.g taxi’s) Weaknesses in school system

7 Relationships & motives relating to murder
Perpetrators known to victims Perpetrators as relatives, friends, etc Relatives as perpetrators 80% 60% 20% Att murder - 60% Rape - 75% Assault - 90% Motives/Conditions Social behaviour (E.g. domestic conflict such as arguments, jealousy, alcohol & drug abuse, etc) Criminal behaviour (E.g. resulting from other crime such as robbery, etc) Group behaviour (E.g. gang & taxi violence, vigilantism, etc) Other (E.g. retaliation, self-defence, police actions, etc) 65% 16% 7% 12%

8 Inequality as a possible explanation for some crimes (South Africa)
(Independent researcher Michael O’Donovan – attempting to explain the correlation betw crime rates and socio-economic conditions): One of the most reliable predictors of high crime levels in an area is the size of the income gap between it and the poorest neighbouring area The greater the gap the higher the rate of property crime in the more affluent area (Also: ‘Inequality is thought to exacerbate feelings of alienation, deprivation or injustice. These affronts facilitate the de-legitimisation of the state, aspirational frustration, and the dissolution of the sense of community. This, in turn, allows for higher crime rates as the constraints on anti-social and criminal behaviour are weakened, the power of the state undermined, and the moral justification for being law-abiding wanes’)

9 Residential & non-residential burglary
(Rates per )

10 Commercial crime & shoplifting

11 Some unemployment and poverty rates
(South Africa) National unemployment rate for SA: 25% (Stats SA) Poorest areas unemployment as high as 75% (inclusive of economically inactive persons) Poverty rate in places such as Alfred Nzo DM is 76% (i.e. households with an income below R800 per month) Alfred Nzo & OR Tambo DM also has highest level of deprivation, i.e. 4.5 out of 5 (SAIRR) Visible & growing gap between rich and poor (Report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)

12 Crime decreases in the UK
(as an example) (According to the British Crime Survey 2009/10 the fall in crime figures might be seen as surprising because of expectations that the economic recession would lead to an increase in crime, particularly property crime) The British Crime Survey shows a 43% fall since 1997 as police records confirm far fewer offences. Crime in England and Wales fell by 9% in 2010 to its lowest level since comparable records began in 1981. There were further substantial falls in car crime, down by 17%, and domestic burglary, down by 9%. The continuing fall in crime from a peak in 1995, is confirmed by figures showing crimes recorded by the police, which fell by 8%

13 Crime decreases in the UK: Theoretical explanations
Possible explanations: ‘There are competing hypotheses and no single definitive explanation for the fall in crimes and it seems likely that a number of different factors have contributed, in different ways, although there is broad support for the impact of improved vehicle and household security’ ‘The wide range of explanations include: the presence of CCTV cameras in car parks, local crime reduction initiatives, reductions in the real value of many household items, social change and controls, a strong economy & improvements in police performance and increases in police numbers’

14 the impossible mandate
The root of evil & the impossible mandate ‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root’ (Henry D Thoreau – 1862)

15 Are we solving the problem?
‘With fear of crime at all-time high levels, our national political leaders propose dramatic solutions to the ‘crime problem’ They focus on … incarceration policies, construction of more prisons, tighter gun control, and increasing the number of police on the streets’ (Kelling & Coles, Fixing broken windows …, 1997)

16 Do we need more police? Mr Kenneth Baker, British Home Secretary in the Thatcher government, in his memoirs in 1990: “… while several of my ministerial colleagues and Tory MP’s supported the police in public, they were highly critical of them in private. There was impatience, if not anger, that although we had spent 87% more in real terms since 1979, and had increased police numbers by , there had still been a substantial increase in crime.“

17 Crime control and the police
Robert Reiner (1994), quoting from Raymond Chandler in The long goodbye: … using the cops to control crime and other complex social problems is like taking aspirin to cure a brain tumour, but ‘no way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them’ Morgan & Newburn (1997) in The future of policing: … it is also very clear that we cannot go on as we have been doing … We must establish what the fundamental role and functions of the police are to be

18 So, can the police prevent crime?
‘The police do not prevent crime. This is one of the best- kept secrets of modern life. Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it. Yet the police pretend that they are society’s best defence against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime. This is a myth.’ Prof David Bayley in Police for the Future (1994)

19 Combating (fighting) crime Policing
Crime prevention Long-term interventions Other interv. (other depts & com. initia-tives) Policing Short-term interventions Private security Socio-economic interventions (social crime prevention) Crime prevention through environ- mental design Deterrence through effective Criminal Justice System Proactive Policing Visible policing Law enforce- ment Order main- tenance Reactive Policing Crime investi- gation Law enforce- ment Order restora- tion Information Deterrence Arrests

20 Conclusion In the US & UK some established explanations re the socio- economic roots of crime are now being questioned after marked crime decreases in spite of the economic recession – however no generally accepted alternative explanations are available South Africa initially experienced a different reaction to the recession with some economic and social ‘fabric’ crimes showing corresponding increases, before the latest decreases Local research appear to support a link at least between inequality and property related crime Docket analysis also indicate a clear relationship at least between social conditions and inter-personal violent crime There is a clear need to redefine the role of the police ----- : -----

21 Thank you / Baie dankie JOHAN BURGER Tel 012 346 9500

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