Measuring Crime

Measuring Crime

Critically discuss the ways in which information on security and/or crime in South Africa is generated and interpreted, as well as the implications that this has on addressing security/crime concerns The issue of crime in South Africa has become more and more alarming during the past few years, and it requires in-depth analysis. Indeed, it is very interesting to analyze crime from a functionalist perspective. According to Druthers (Druthers, 1 897), crime is functional, and all society emerge from some sort of deviance. Druthers (Druthers, 1897) adds that the social hanged that deviance brings to a country are positive.

However, the analysis of crime in a South African context challenges Deuterium’s views on crime and positivist. Indeed, while analyzing crime in South Africa, one comes to see that crime is not always positive and it can have some dreadful consequences. According to Scientist (Scientist, 2001 ), crime in South Africa has been increasing dramatically since the sass’s. Scientist (Scientist, 2001 ) argues that although recorded crimes have stabilized between the years 1995 and 1996, the number of crimes committed in South Africa has not decreased.

There are several ways in which information on crime is obtained. This essay will discuss how statistics on crime in South Africa is generated and interpreted, and the implication that it has on addressing security concerns within the country. There are many ways in which statistics Of crime are obtained. According to Alterable (Alterable, 2005), one of the ways in which crime is measured is through the factorization survey. The factorization survey allows data on crimes to be obtained through a list of questions asked to victims about their own incidents on crime.

What is interesting to note about the factorization survey is that it can provide a better picture on crime than the police record (United Nations Office on drugs and crimes, 2010). Factorization surveys can cover various ranges of crimes that are most likely not reported and recorded by the police (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, 2010). According to Cape Town Victim Survey conducted in April 1998 (Cape Town Victim Survey, 1998),Victim surveys can be seen as a very important source of obtaining information by “filling in the gaps left by official; crime statistics” Cape Town Victim Survey, 1998).

In addition to this, victim surveys enable the recording of crime through various perspectives of the victim. Secondly, through official statistics, data on the crimes is also generated. Indeed, official statistics provides data to the entire population Of the country. In the latest crime statistics of South Africa (Thorpe,2010), we come to see that the figures that the crime statistics of the country reveals is indeed very alarming. As mentioned in the this crime statistics, “approximately 2121887 countries serious crimes were committed in the 2009/2010 calendar year Thorpe,2010).

According to the National Crimes Statistics (National Crime Statistics,2005), the reporting and recording of crimes eventually impacts on the number of crimes recorded in the crime statistics. In addition to this, a third method through which crime and delinquency is measured in South Africa is through self-report questionnaires. According to Thornier (Thornier, 2000), the self-report method is one of the popular ways to collect information on crime.

Thornier (Therefore,2000) argues that the self-report method involves asking individuals questions about their win involvement in criminal behavior or activities, and this form of collecting data on crime is relatively “valid and reliable for most research purposes” (Thornier, 2000) However, the extent to which these methods used to measure delinquent and criminal activities are useful, valid and reliable is a debatable issue. Young states that Victim surveys can have a lot of drawbacks (Young, 1988).

According to him, there is a high non-response rate, and there is “a fifth to one quarter of respondents whose factorization is unknown” (Young, 1988). Young adds that “At the most obvious level it probably includes a supranational number of transients, of lower working class people hostile to officials with clipboards attempting to ask them about their lives, and of those who are most frightened to answer the door because of fear of crime” (Young, 1988). Hence, we come to see that information obtained through victim survey does not enable generalization since it fails to record each and every person that has been a victim of criminal acts.

Secondly, although official crime statistics is an easy way of obtaining information on crime, it is can be unreliable and invalid. According to Heretofore (Heretofore,2004), there are thousands of crime in South Africa that are unreported. According to him, “Crime rates, or the number of crimes recorded by the police, are notoriously unreliable as a reflection of the real crime situation, and even worse as an indicator of police performance” (Heretofore, 2004).

In addition to this, results on victim surveys showed that the latter provides about 60 to 70 percent more crime than the official statistics (Heretofore,2004). This shows the extent to which records of crime in the official statistics is under recorded. Hence figures on crime rates in the official statistics is highly invalid and unreliable as it does not provide a true picture of the reality. Likewise, self-report surveys can also be problematic. Northrop argues that people answering self-report surveys do not always give honest answers about their own involvement in criminal activities. Northup, 1996). In addition to this, he states that there is a high non-response rate when it comes to self- report surveys as respondents refuse to participate (Northup, 1996). From a sociological perspective, the results obtained from self-report surveys can be giggly bias, as some people may tend to exaggerate their involvement in crime, while others may give dishonest answers in their participation in crimes as they have been influenced by others. On the other hand, information obtained on security in South Africa is interpreted in different ways.

According to the South African Crime Statistics, SAPS are trying their best to combat criminal activities which generates crimes (South African Crime Statistics, 2007). Furthermore, South Africa sees data obtained on crime as the most accurate one, as murders are recorded y not only SAPS, but also by the health and mortuary systems (South African Crime Statistics,2007). The South African Statistics report also reveals that the crimes recorded in South Africa does not contain all the crimes that have been reported (South African Crime Statistics, 2007).

In addition to this, “Interpersonal crimes, such as domestic violence, are believed to be less well reported and sexual offences the least well reported” (South African Crime Statistics,2007). The statistics explain this trend in terms of women being afraid to report because their complaint might not be taken into inconsideration; and hence not recorded. SAPS reported that although there has been an increase in reported rape, this should not imply that rape has increased as such.

SAPS argue that there has rather been “an improvement in service delivery to victims of rape” (South African Crime Statistics, 2007). Furthermore, SAPS interpreter crime statistics in a very interesting way. SAPS States that in most Of the criminal acts taking place; mostly rapes and child abuse, “the offender is known to the victim”, and this happens behind “closed doors” (South African Crime Statistics,2007). As such, the police cannot lower apes and boost up reporting rates.

However, the mass media mislead people in believing a relatively low figure of crime than to what it really is in reality. It portrays crime as something to be taken for granted, and interpreter it in a very light manner, instead of interpreting crime with the real pictures of violence and insecurity that it should portray. Moreover, the implications that crime has in addressing security concerns varies. Victims of Crime Survey state that due to the high rate of crime in South Africa, its citizens are taking more precautions when it comes to their win safety.

As mentioned in the Victims of Crime Surveys, “A third of the households avoided going to open spaces when they were alone because of their fear of crime, followed by 22,2% of households that would not allow their children to move around or play in their area; A further 14,7% of households wouldn’t allow their children to walk freely to school alone”(Victims of Crime Surveys,201 1). Furthermore, as stated by the Victims Crime Surveys, 33. 9 percent of Indian and Asian household avoided walking alone on the roads, as they were scared to be victims of criminal acts (Victims f Crime Surveys, 201 1).

In South Africa, SEPIA has taken several measures against the number of crimes that are being committed in the country (Safety and Security, 2012). The South African petroleum industry has put into actions several initiatives to reduce the crime rate of the country; such as “improved cash-handling procedures by retailers and enhanced service station design which includes the addition of bullet-proof glass, panic buttons and closed circuit television systems at forecourts” (Safety and security, 2012). In addition to this, service Taft members are being more sensitizes about crime (Safety and Security, 2012).

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