Understanding crime trends

2016-03-08 06:00

THE criminal landscape in South Africa is complex and ever-changing, and one which needs to be fully understood in order to be effectively combatted.

As such, Enforce Security brought on board a criminologist to better assist in keeping abreast of the latest crime trends and statistics.

Caitlin Naylor joined Enforce in 2015 and her expertise, in conjunction with the experience and capabilities of the company’s private investigations unit, ensures that residents are not only kept as safe and secure as possible, but that crime can be curbed at the source.

What made you decide to pursue an honours degree in Criminology?

I have always been very passionate about people and highly interested in the human mind, hence the reason for deciding to pursue, firstly, a Degree in Psychology and Criminology, and then an honours degree in Criminology. I am hoping to work towards attaining my Masters soon.

The study of Criminology is both complicated and multi-faceted, and explores the various elements pertaining to crime, such as what predisposes victims to crime, what predisposes criminals to commit crime, various theories in relation to modern day crime, rehabilitation methods, trends, and statistical analysis of crime trends – to name just a few. Not only is it my passion to eradicate crime, but better understand the depths of the criminal mind. I love puzzles, and Criminology certainly poses as a very large and complex puzzle.

Why is crime analysis so important in the fight against crime?

Before crime can be accurately addressed, it needs to be understood, and the analysis of crime facilitates this process of understanding. Crime analysis is an imperative element of criminal intelligence and contributes significantly to the compilation, interpretation and utilisation of data, thus facilitating the reduction and prevention of crime.
The identification of crime trends, modus operandi and hot spots are key elements of Crime Analysis, and drawing conclusions from the data aids law enforcement in their crime-fighting programmes and initiatives as they can focus their resources accordingly.

How can analysis assist Enforce Security’s armed response capabilities and its crime fight?

Through the analysis of specific crime trends, Enforce Security is able to implement specific and contextualised crime fighting measures and accurately focus its resources in order to counteract the prevalence of crimes identified in different areas.
The collected and analysed data also has the potential to predict future crime problems and risks, therefore allowing Enforce to implement pre-emptive strategies in in order to deter crime.

As a country/society, how do you believe that ordinary citizens can contribute to curbing crime?

It is the responsibility of every South African citizen to work in unison with law enforcement to curb crime. South Africans have become complacent with the reporting of crimes to the police, and many have lost faith in the country’s criminal justice system. It is therefore essential that South Africans not only empower, but respect each other. A firm belief of Enforce Security is that maintaining a culture of respect will facilitate the eradication of crime. Enforce’s #RespectSA campaign aims to spread the culture of respect which has the power to ultimately stop the cycle of crime and violence that grips our country.

In terms of trends, how do SA's criminal networks/suspects/syndicates operate in comparison to those overseas?

South African criminals are certainly unique and have earned our country the title of ‘Crime Capital of the World’. Although there are definite similarities in the ways South African criminals and those in other countries operate, our criminals are notorious for being resourceful and excessively violent.
A third of crimes reported in South Africa are violent in nature, and it is this level of aggression and violence that sets us apart from the rest of the world. South African criminals are skilled in obtaining inside information before committing crimes, and think nothing of derailing gates and forcing open doors and barred windows to reach their targets.

What do you think will be the major crimes in South Africa in the next couple of years, and how do you see them evolving over time?

Crime trends and modus operandi are always fluctuating and criminals are always evolving. As people become more security conscious and implement new measures to secure their homes, criminals will adapt and change their methods to get what they want.
I believe that on-going technological advancement will be a major contribution to future crime trends and will definitely affect the modus operandi for cyber-related crimes. These advancements will facilitate crimes such as fraud, theft of sensitive and financial information, and the exploitation of software. Criminals will also be able to utilise technology to further develop their own Intel methods of communication.
As more devices and technological capabilities are launched, criminals will be the first to explore and exploit vulnerabilities.
Technological advances will also further increase the growth of organised crime –which we are seeing already – and contribute to crimes such as trafficking.

What can Enforce Security and others committed to the fight against crime, do to counter these emerging trends?

As crime fighters it is imperative that we keep abreast of emerging trends and changes in modus operandi. This will allow us to accurately combat crime and utilise resources effectively.
It is also essential that all role-players in the South Africa private security industry work together in the fight against crime, and in turn, work with and assist the SAPS. We may be competitors in the field, but we are all striving toward a common goal – a crime-free South Africa. - Supplied

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