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Understanding the root causes of crime


Methodological & statistical problems in ... Acquisitive (greed motivated) organised crime. Acquisitive (greed motivated) individual crime, such as fraud ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding the root causes of crime

Understanding the root causes of crime violence
in SA Links between poverty crime
  • Antoinette Louw
  • Institute for Security Studies

Approach to the question
  • Factors associated with crime rather than
  • Studies on links between poverty, income
    inequality and crime are not conclusive
  • Methodological statistical problems in
    measuring crime poverty inequality
  • Especially in developing countries

Briefly, what do available statistics suggest?
  • Poorest nations communities do not necessarily
    have highest crime levels
  • Inequality is better correlated with crime than
  • Different types of crime may be better linked to
    different factors

What do provincial indicators in SA show?
  • Would expect poor provinces and those with
    biggest gap between rich and poor to have highest
    crime rates, but
  • opposite is true
  • not much difference between property violent
  • Unemployment crime trends also unexpected
  • lowest unemployment in W Cape the most crime
    ridden province highest unemployment in E Cape
    Limpopo the lowest crime provinces

Crime and unemployment
Crime and unemployed per province
Crime violence are about much more than poverty
  • Contrary to popular wisdom, unemployment does not
    cause crime
  • People commit crime for a wide range of reasons
     poverty alleviation wealth redistribution
    will help but there are many other problems that
    also need attention
  • This is supported by some public perception data
    by what we know about motivations for crime,
    and contributory factors

What do South Africans think motivates criminals?
ISS national victim survey 2003
Range of possible motivations for committing crime
  • Acquisitive (redistributive) crime by the poor,
    such as stealing to feed a family
  • Acquisitive (alternative employment) crime by the
    poor (making an income from crime)
  • Acquisitive (greed motivated) organised crime
  • Acquisitive (greed motivated) individual crime,
    such as fraud
  • Instrumental expressive violence in acquisitive
    crime, such as robbery
  • Instrumental violence in power-related crime
    (including political violence, witchcraft
    killings, etc.)
  • Expressive domestic and gender-based violence
  • Expressive public violence (including hate crime)
  • Rites of passage risk taking crime violence,
    especially among youth
  • Cyclical (vindictive) community violence
  • Socio-pathological violence, such as baby rapes
  • Crime related to the mental illness of the
  • Social order crime

Factors contributing to crime violence
Socio-economic circumstances
Attitudes to experiences of crime/violence
Facilitating factors
Weak regulatory systems

  • Large of young men in population
  • Rapid, unplanned urbanisation
  • Poverty, joblessness, inequality
  • Poor housing
  • Dysfunctional families, schools
  • Absence of childcare, after school care
    recreational facilities
  • Weak social security systems
  • Culture of violence, especially post-conflict
  • Early experiences of violence
  • Acceptance or normalisation of crime
  • Poor anger conflict management skills
  • Diminished status of women children
  • Feelings of disillusionment, disempowerment
    social exclusion especially of youth
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Gangs
  • Firearms
  • Poor urban design
  • CJS
  • Border control immigration policy
  • Vehicle licensing systems
  • Taxi regulation
  • By-law enforcement
  • Schooling system

Thank you
  • Institute for Security Studies
  • http//www.issafrica.org
  • alouw_at_issafrica.org
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