Monograph 78: Rainbow Tenement, Crime and Policing in Inner Johannesburg, Ted Leggett

2003-03-01

Finding
Policy implication
Crime recorded by SAPS
Hillbrow policing area has higher levels of recorded violent crime, but lower numbers of police than Johannesburg Central.
Resource allocations may need to be reviewed, especially with regard to uniformed street policing.
Recorded robbery and assault are on the increase while burglary and auto theft are in decline.
Shift to more direct means of acquisitive crime and increased violence suggest a link to crack cocaine. Targeting the drug may also curb this trend.
Personnel assigned to closed circuit television duty do not make more arrests than other street units.
Diversion of resources to this enforcement technique should be compared to the improvements in staff coverage that might alternately be achieved for the same money
Demographics
The population of inner Johannesburg is largely transient: 68% of the 1 100 people polled said they had moved to their present household in the last five years and nearly a quarter identified themselves as a foreigner.
Official demographic estimates are unlikely to be accurate and should not be the basis of resource allocations or crime statistics. Measures should be taken to enhance community stability and cohesion, such as the creation of social housing.
Nearly a quarter of the households polled contained three or more people living in a single room.
As overcrowding is associated with crime, building owners should be compelled to limit occupancy.
Public opinion
When asked whom they think commits most of the crime in their area, 63% mentioned “foreigners”, including 39% of foreign nationals polled. Foreign nationals were more likely to be victims of crime in every category surveyed.
Immigrants need either to be recognised and integrated into the society or deported.
Finding
Policy implication
75% said they would “definitely” permit
the police to search their homes every month
if this will reduce crime.
Community is tolerant of building raids
as a crime prevention technique reflect
ing high levels of concern about crime.
Drugs
70% said they had seen dagga smoked in their area and 30% knew where to buy it. 14% had seen Mandrax smoked and knew where to buy it. Over 10% had seen crack smoked and knew where to buy it. These figures were higher in the residential hotels. Over a fifth personally knew someone in their neighbourhood who needs drugs every day.
Drugs are openly sold and consumed in the area, so drug interdiction should be easy. ‘Buy and bust’ sting operations should be conducted routinely to turn open drug markets into closed ones. Residential hotels should be targeted.
81% said they believe drugs contribute to crime in their area, and one third supported the death penalty for drug dealers.
Community support for action against drugs is strong. Community can assist in drug interdiction efforts. Mechanisms should be established to make use of this resource.
Robbery
30% of survey respondents were robbed in the last year in inner Johannesburg and about half of all robberies were committed on the street by groups of three or more.
Inner Johannesburg has the highest levels of robbery ever recorded in a South African victim survey. This offence is policeable – proactive patrols must target this street crime.
Only 36% of robbery victims reported this crime to the police, the lowest rate of reporting of this crime in South Africa.
Efforts should be made to improve this reporting rate, including appeals to civic duty and streamlined reporting services.
82% of robberies were committed with a gun or a knife. 22% of these crimes resulted in injuries, 60% of which required medical attention.
Robberies in inner Johannesburg are exceptionally violent. Members of the public should be advised to give property without resistance.
Burglary
Residents were at home in 28% of cases and in 45% of these, violence or threats were used.
Many of these burglaries are actually home robberies, an especially traumatic crime type which requires special attention.
The front door was simply forced open in 30% of the cases.
Noisy entry points to the need to promote collective crime prevention among building residents, including target hardening.
Finding
Policy implication
22% said they knew who burgled their home.
Victim and community knowledge of markets for stolen property need to be tapped for interdiction.
Assault
While 77% of the domestic violence cases required medical attention for the injuries sustained, less than 40% were reported to the police.
‘Policing’ domestic violence is about improving access to services and confidence in the system.
Nearly a fifth of assaults took place in a bar while both parties were under the influence of alcohol.
Licensed owners should be held accountable for crime committed on their premises.
Over a third of assaults were attacks on the street by unknown groups of three of more assailants.
More research is needed to determine whether these attacks are due to inter group conflict or other causes.
Victims
Most victims were most interested in avoiding future victimisation and getting life back to normal, rather than punishing offenders.
Under-reporting can only be combated by appealing to victims’ future interests.
Victims expressed interest in a range of correctional alternatives, including hard labour and victim/offender encounters, but levels of interest varied by crime type.
Alternatives to simple incarceration should be explored, with the victims’ interests in mind.
 


 

feature-5icon-printerlogo-chlogo-fr