2007-12-07 : Pattern to house robberies noticed

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2007-12-07 : Pattern to house robberies noticed

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-12-21 08:11

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 174C918144




Pattern to house robberies noticed
December 07 2007 at 01:41PM


Not only are robbers hitting more houses, they now prefer to strike when
residents are at home, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said on
Friday.


"It's fairly obvious that this is what's happening," said ISS researcher
Johan Burger.


"There seems to be a correlation between the decrease in burglary figures
and the increase... in the house robbery figure," he said, but added that
this might not be the only reason.


The police announced on Thursday that house robbery went up seven percent,
business robbery 29.3 percent, and truck hijacking 53.3 percent in the six
months from April to September.


'It's fairly obvious that this is what's happening'
In the past, burglars would watch houses to establish residents' patterns,
then break-in while the people were out and they could expect no resistance,
said Burger.


The availability of firearms in the crime market in the past couple of years
had "completely changed the face of crime".


Firearms enabled criminals to confront people, something which was a lot
more difficult in the past.


Victims would put up a lot of resistance if attacked with knives, whereas
just pointing a firearm at someone would almost lead to their guaranteed
co-operation.


Instead of burglars having to search a house for what they wanted, robbers
could now obtain bank cards and pin numbers, and the codes for safes without
a struggle.


'This has become the preferred method of stealing from people'
"(It's) a much more certain way of getting what you want," said Burger.


"This has become the preferred method of stealing from people".


He said the recent seven percent increase in house robberies was over and
above a 25 percent increase last year.


Although this type of crime accounted for only 11 percent of all aggravated
robberies - business robberies made up 7.4 percent and car hijackings 12
percent - it was growing.


"(It) becomes more serious every time the crime statistics are released."


He expected the police and criminal justice system to really focus on ways
of fighting house robberies.


"At the moment, it's the one crime... that causes the most fear.


Burger said the country's biggest headache in the past few years was still
the level of violence in crime.


"Violence is the one element in our crime that creates the most fear in
people's worlds," he said.


While the ISS had considered studying the phenomenon, it had decided to wait
for the outcome of a probe by the Centre for the Study of Violence and
Reconciliation.


Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said on Thursday that the
police had received its preliminary report, but that the final report would
be presented to the government only in January 2009.


Describing the latest crime statistics as showing mixed results, Burger said
house robberies and business robberies might have increased, but they had
done so at a slower rate than in the past.


However, a new trend was the spread of these crimes - which used to be
restricted to urban areas - to rural areas.


Part of the explanation for this could be that rural criminals were learning
from their urban counterparts.


It could also be that they were picking up tips from monitoring the media.


Burger said that while it was relatively easy to fight this type of crime
when it was geographically limited, it became difficult to fight when it
spread.


"These are worrying aspects of the crime statistics," he said.


The police statistics showed a decrease in murder by 6.6 percent, rape 3.6
percent, attempted murder 7.6 percent, assault with intent to do grievous
bodily harm 2.8 percent, common assault 5.1 percent, aggravated robbery 9.7
percent and common robbery 12.3 percent. - Sapa
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GOSA
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