Saturday, July 18, 2009

Welcome to the New! Improved! South Africa!™

The conviction rate for house robberies here is only 7.67 percent. In the US it is 53 percent.

Is gun control acceptable?

Households under siege by armed robbers

New research has shown that during the past year, house robberies increased by 13.5 percent and a staggering 97 percent of all robbers are armed.

This is the latest in crime intelligence research done by Dr Rudolph Zinn, senior lecturer in the School of Criminal Justice at Unisa, in an intensive study on house robberies and robbers.

Zinn, a professor in the department of forensic and crime investigation, said almost 15 000 residential robberies were committed in 2008.

The report found the average age of a house robber to be 19 to 26 and an average of 30 percent of all house robbers had either committed murder, or wouldn't hesitate to do so. Only 17 percent of house robbers were foreigners.

Of all arrested robbers, 90 percent had no matric or were unemployed. The 10 percent who had been employed, gave up their jobs after assessing how much they could "earn" from a robbery.

Most targets were affluent people who openly displayed their wealth. Only 35 percent of robbers stole for basic needs, while 65 percent enjoyed the money, spending it on items such as clothes or cars.

The average robber committed 103 robberies over seven years before being caught and 97 percent of all robbers were armed. On average there were four members in a gang.

Intelligence is often gathered about the target home and its residents from information supplied by insiders.

Zinn said this revelation had emerged in interviews with convicted and imprisoned house robbers in the six largest correctional facilities in Gauteng.

"It was during these interviews that they revealed that 77 percent of the time, they worked on 'inside' information," he said.

The full study has not yet been released to the public and is due for release as an Institute of Security Studies publication later in 2009.

Zinn was, however, willing to answer questions about statistics leaked prematurely.

According to Zinn, informants were not only domestic workers, but employees, gardeners, visitors and any person who had access to the house.

The informers usually told robbers about the whereabouts of large amounts of cash, and security arrangements. The convicts said informants made the job less risky for the robbers.

According to his research, half of all house robberies in South Africa were in Gauteng. KwaZulu-Natal was second with 27.3 percent.

Zinn's report supports previous findings that most attacks occur between 7pm and midnight, while people are relaxed - cooking or watching TV - and their security systems are not activated.

But, Zinn says, the second-highest number of robberies is between 4am and 7am, when residents are up and about, and the alarms have been deactivated. "They use noises such as the television set, or preparation of food, as a cover to get into the house unnoticed," he told Weekend Argus this week.

Smaller dogs kept inside the house were the best deterrent, alerting the residents to intruders. In fact, they were an even better deterrent than armed response. At the lowest end of the deterrent scale were security lights.

Security systems outside the house were a better deterrent since they gave residents enough time to initiate self-defence action or call for help.

Zinn conducted the research two years ago after he found that the police had very little crime intelligence on house robberies and the robbers.

For a number of years Zinn has researched intelligence-led policing as an alternative to the mostly reactive and incident-driven policing model in SA.

The conviction rate for house robberies here is only 7.67 percent. In the US it is 53 percent.

Hat tip: Black Coffee

6 Opinion(s):

FishEagle said...

"a staggering 97 percent of all robbers are armed." The facts speak for themselves. The UK Guardian crowd that blasted Louis Taylor about her concerns for W2010 are in SUCH denial about safety in SA. It's hard to resist temptation to just say, "As hulle nie wil hoor nie moet hulle voel!" (Translation - if they don't want to listen they must bear the consequences).

FishEagle said...

There is a follow up article in the UK Guardian about W2010 called "Are we guilty of a black and white view of South Africa?" (

My comment was:

This article is an absolute insult to South Africa. Maybe you should fret about the fact that 97% of all house robberies are armed (study by Dr. Rudolph Zinn, School of Criminal Justice at Unisa with data collected over past year). Or fret about the fact that one in four men have admitted to rape (study by Medical Research Council, report from 18 June 2009). These are just the most recent statistics that have surfaced from SA. My wish is that everyone, for once, should fret!!!

The world has every right to judge SA. If you want a great soccer tournament, hell why shouldn't you expect one? Are we not part of the global community? Do we not also deserve to have ambitions to be on par with the rest of the world? You can blame apartheid as much as you like. But as a young South African we also have aspirations here and now, 15 years after apartheid.

Maybe YOU are talking about colour when you talk about safety. When I am faced with murder, car jackings (survived one attempt already) or rape (survived one rape already) I don't give a shit about the colour of the perpetrator. I care about my safety!

After flaunting your racism in this article you insult one of our most beautiful landscapes, the Garden Route tourism destination. It forms part of a very unique area in the Eastern Cape in which 6 of the 7 biomes found in South Africa can be reached within a radius of about 100km. That is pretty spectacular, from an environmental point of view!

We'll rather have Louise Taylor visiting South Africa, thank you very much!

Doberman said...

@ FE, I read the article. Made me want to punch the arsehole that wrote it in the face. It's akin to spitting in the face of every murder victim, every victim of crime in SA. Your response was spot on. Everyone should give this turd a piece of their mind.

FishEagle said...

@Dobes, it got the blood boiling big time.

Ranger Tom said...

I'm not even South African and I'm insulted by this.

FishEagle said...

It seems I shut everyone up with the comment on the Guardian's site. Lol.