Criminals feel 'entitled' to steal

2008-07-02 10:41

Pretoria - Criminals feel entitled to take from those who have more than they do.

This transpired from a study on convicted house robbers, conducted to establish why they committed this crime.

Senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dr Johan Burger, said on Tuesday the study found that house robbers targeted "richer" suburbs.

"Many of the more affluent suburbs are surrounded by poorer residential areas (like squatter camps)", said Burger.

"For these house robbers, anyone who has more than they do is well-off.

"The house robbers often focus on the 'richer' neighbouring suburbs closest to them. They feel they are entitled, for their own sakes, to take from those who have a lot".

House robberies up 13.5%

According to the police's latest crime statistics, which were announced at the Union Buildings on Monday, house robberies had increased countrywide by 13.5%.

Police compiled a report about the statistics, in which three Pretoria suburbs were identified as being part of the 20 most dangerous suburbs to live in with regards to house robberies.

Wierdabrug in Centurion is number eight on the list, while Brooklyn and Garsfontein, both in eastern Pretoria, are 13th and 15th on the list.

According to the report, Gautengers who live in richer neighbourhoods "like Brooklyn, Garsfontein, Sandton, Honeydew and Douglasdale, have a bigger chance of being targeted or murdered in house robberies".

Burger said although the statistics showed an increase in house robberies, there was an overall drop of about 6.4% in contact crimes for the period between April 2007 and March 2008.

This message was positive, he said, adding that people should allow themselves to receive good news.

But he said the drop in crime had to be maintained for at least another ten years before South African crime would be internationally acceptable.

'Unacceptably high'

The Tshwane Metro Council member of the mayoral committee for community safety, Bongi Lehobye, said on Tuesday it was clear that crime levels were still unacceptably high.

"The high incidences of hijackings and house robbers in suburbs like Brooklyn and Garsfontein are worrying".

She pointed out that Atteridgeville to the west of Pretoria and Mamelodi in the east, were under the ten most dangerous residential areas in the country when it came to incidences of attempted murder, rape and assault with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm.

"Much has been done to fight crime in the city, but there is still a lot of work to be done," said Lehobye.