COMMUNITY POLICING AS CRIME PREVENTION PHILOSOPHY

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CHAPTER 3 YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, SOCIAL CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents factors that influence the activities of young people in relation to youth crime and violence. It also explores various issues that affect the youth in their communities, hence attempting to understand the factors that influence young people to be involved in unlawful activities. These factors are reflected upon, including their root causes. It is increasingly recognised that young people are central to issues of crime and violence, in particular.
There is a growing concern that young people are both victims and perpetrators of violence and crime. In addition, young people suffer much higher levels of crime victimisation than adults (Ward, Van der Merwe & Dawes, 2012). They are also often the perpetrators of violence against other youths and the population as a whole. The issue of violence against and by the youth is receiving growing attention in the media, and it is increasingly acknowledged that there will be a grave cost to government and to society if youth issues are not addressed. This chapter addresses the main factors that affect young people in their environments. Moreover, this chapter provides a diagnostic overview of youth violence and youth development in South Africa. The following focus areas will be covered:
a brief background to youth activities, definition of the concept youth in the South African context, youth crime and violence in South Africa, forms of youth crime and violence, exploring factors influencing youth criminality, social and environmental causes of crime, risk factors, other causes of youth criminality, control measures for the youth and juvenile delinquency, youth development platforms, fundamental principles of youth development, youth development institutions in South Africa, challenges or failures of youth development institutions.
This chapter commences with a brief background of youth development in South Africa.

BRIEF BACKGROUND OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

Since 1994, issues affecting young people in South Africa were initially expressed primarily in three documents, namely the National Youth Policy (NYP) of 2000 (South Africa 2007a:1), developed in 1997, the National Youth Development Policy Framework (NYDPF) (South Africa, 2002), as well as the second-generation NYP of 2009-2014 (South Africa, 2009:2). The first NYP of 2000 was never officially adopted, but formed the basis of the development of the NYDPF, which was adopted in 2002. This covered a period of five years, ending in 2007. The NYDPF had been reworked into the 2009-2014 issue, which was adopted by government in 2009. The NYP of 2009-2014 laid a foundation for integrated youth-focused policy and programming. The policy emphasises the importance of placing young people at the centre of national development initiatives, both as a beneficiary of development and as active participants. The policy is based on the principle of social and economic justice, human rights, empowerment, participation, active citizenship, the promotion of public benefit, and liberal values. It calls for an integrated approach that focuses on the holistic development of young people. It also highlights the necessity for various aspects of public policy to function synergistically to provide youth, particularly those outside of the school, political and economic mainstream, with the knowledge, skills and values they need to make appropriate choices. The policy rests on four pillars, namely (NYP, 2009-2014):
Education, Health and well-being, Economic participation, Social cohesion Youth criminality exists in every community in the Republic. However, various studies exploring criminal victimisation have mostly been narrowed down to the viewpoints and involvement of adults. The discourse pertaining to young people and crime has largely centred on young offenders. Only in recent years have researchers become concerned with the escalating exposure of young people to both violent and non-violent forms of victimisation (Ward et al., 2012:23). Jobson (2011:11) states that the NYP of 2009-2014 (South Africa, 2009) outlines critical factors for the development of young people; however, when it comes to its implementation, there are few tangible mechanisms to ensure the proper implementation of policy recommendations.
A presentation of youth crime and violence follows.

YOUTH CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Youth crime and violence is a societal problem that affects everyone, including young people.

Contextualising youth crime and violence

According to Graham et al. (2010:38-39), youth violence can be defined as the involvement of youngsters, whether as victims or perpetrators, in events concerning the threat or use of physical force in circumstances of personal, intercommunal or other encounters with crime. Such violence could be carried out with or without a firearm, and might or might not end in physical injuries or the demise of a person. This description concentrates on the physical characteristics, and suggests some degree of criminality or socially intolerable behaviour. Leoschut (2006) argues that the concept of violence is extremely broad, ranging from physical and psychological injury, to socio-political discrimination and structural forms, among others. The World Health Organisation (WHO), for example, defines violence as:
The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation (Etienne et al., 2002:05).
Violence is concerned with the application or threat of physical force against an individual that could give rise to unlawful action, whether severe or not and whether with or without a firearm or other weapon. The seriousness of the violence could be connected to violations of the person or be likely to cause serious physical pain, injury or death (South Africa, 2007b). The above definition is supported by the ISCPS (South Africa, 2011a:11), which describes violence “as a physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing.”
The above-stated explanations confirm that non-physical forms of attack and abuse could also have a profound effect on the victim. The explanations furthermore acknowledge the international approach, which demonstrates that defining violent outcomes solely in terms of injury or death restricts our understanding of the full impact of violence on individuals, communities and societies (South Africa, 2007b). The World Health Organisation (WHO) report on youth violence also recommends classifying violence according to types or categories. It distinguishes four ways in which violence may be imposed, namely physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as insufficiency or lack of resources, which could lead to violence, i.e. be the cause of it. It went further and divided the general definition of violence into three often-overlapping sub-types. It includes the following (Etienne et al., 2002:6):
Self-directed violence, which includes self-abuse and suicide,
Interpersonal violence, which refers to violence that happens between individuals. This violence includes family and close-partner violence, as well as between unconnected individuals who are known or unknown to one another. This category includes random acts of violence, rape or sexual assault by strangers, and violence in institutional settings such as schools, workplaces, prisons and nursing homes,
Collective violence, which refers to violence committed by groups or states in support of particular social agendas.
The WHO report on youth violence also adopted the broader definition of violence, but focuses on interpersonal violence. Both self-directed and collective violence are issues in South Africa, but interpersonal violence is generally more common. Given the dynamics, the reasons for interpersonal violence and collective violence are often different from those driving self-directed violence, and require different types of interventions. The emphasis here is on those reasons associated with interpersonal violence. This report concerns itself with the types of violence that cause physical or psychological injuries (Etienne et al., 2002:6).
The ISCPS (South Africa, 2011a:10) refers to the definition of crime as explained in the NCPS, which refers to crime as:
… the breach of rules or laws for which a governing authority can ultimately make a conviction, by means of mechanisms such as the criminal justice system, an act or omission prohibited and punishable by law or any act punishable under the criminal code, whether or not it has come to the attention of the police (South Africa, 1996b).
Crime occurs mainly as the result of multiple adverse social, economic, cultural and family conditions. To prevent crime it is necessary to have an understanding of its root causes. These are multifaceted and interconnected, but can be reduced to three main categories, namely economic factors/poverty, social environment, and family structures (The root causes of crime, 1996). However, Palmery and Moat (2002:4) argue that stringent execution of the law, together with harsh criminal justice and sentencing systems have been unable to reduce crime noticeably and has led to rising rates of incarceration at great cost to governments.
The ISCPS (2011:17) cites Simpson (1996) and Du Plessis (2001), who argue that crime and violence are unintentionally preserved in two kinds of cycles. The initial cycle is the greatest instantaneous and obvious demonstration, e.g. when somebody is triggered, he tends to respond in a violent manner. Teenagers in most cases socialise at an early age and sometimes practice violence as a tactic to deal with victimisation, and by the time they are grown-ups, violence is deep-seated and habitual. Fagan (1995:20) argues that youths brought up in fragmented families by violent parents were most likely exposed to such behaviour, or they have observed conflict and violence between their parents. Omboto, Ondiek, Odera and Ayugi cite Prior and Paris (2005), who state that various observations indicate that most youths participate in criminal activities because of the lack of cohesion within their families, which forces them into criminal actions for survival. Leoschut (2008:1) stresses the fact that it has been established that youngsters are at higher risk of being victimised than adults. Some of the violence that occurs against children in schools takes different forms, for example physical attacks, verbal aggression, and sexual violence.
Berg (2007:10) states that from the legal point of view, irrespective of how disgraceful, ethically outrageous, or deviant an individual’s act may be, it is not technically a crime unless explicitly defined as such in a criminal law. Berg further cited Sutherland and Cressey (1994), who identified the following four factors that represent the classic definition of crime:
Political control accepts it. The state assumes the role of accuser or the party bringing forth charges. Murder, for example, is no longer a crime against a person, but against the state,
It must be precise. The crime and the punishment are explained unambiguously. The law is uniformly applied, that is, equal punishment and fairness to all,
regardless of an individual’s social position,
The state is the legitimate body to administer punishment,
There is a strong link between reducing risk and building resilience or resistance. However, it is generally believed that this is not an accurate measure and that youth crime is far more prevalent than recorded crime suggests. Both police-recorded crime statistics and national surveys of the victims of crime show that the types of offences most often committed by young people, for example violence and stealing vehicles, have risen dramatically over the same period (The root causes of crime, 1996.)
The Country Assessment on Youth Violence, Policy and Programmes in South Africa (2012: 28) indicates that solving crime and violence among the youth involves a wide-ranging, multi-prolonged attitude that addresses a range of aspects driving violent and criminal behaviour. Youngsters cannot be the only players, since the prevention of criminal behaviour requires the involvement of various people, namely parents, teachers, principals and other role-players to help these youngsters to discover themselves and experience personal growth. Becroft (2009:2) argues that the behaviour of youth offenders is different, which implies that their offences have different causes, therefore the solutions to their offences are also different. Palmery and Moat (2002:4) emphasise that a person’s choice to commit crime is caused by a range of multifaceted and intersectional social, personal, and environmental factors. In addition, Palmery and Moat further indicate that the prevention of youth criminality/violence should begin at an early age.
The following section presents a discussion on the forms of violence and crime.

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Forms of violence and crime

The Draft White Paper on Safety and Security (South Africa, 2015a:13) states that there are high levels of crime in South Africa, especially violent crimes. According to Prior and Paris (2005:5), who cite Muncie (2001), “Crime occurs when a specific act as proscribed in law is committed; an act may have harmful consequences and be regarded as morally reprehensible, but if it is not so proscribed then a criminal offence has not been committed.”
According to Leoschut and Burton (2009:1), youngsters who commit crime are seen to be doing so as the result of a range of factors that emanate from their individual and various social environments. Every member of society should take full responsibility for their actions. An understanding of the root causes of crime and violence cannot and should not be seen as a way to liberate oneself from personal liability. Nevertheless, members of society have an obligation to act responsibly to address those conditions that obstruct healthy development and could become the breeding ground for crime. Becroft (2009:3) argues that the more risk factors a youngster exhibits, the more likely he/she is to commit crimes; however, the presence of only one risk factor is unlikely to lead a young person to commit crimes. Some of the factors are direct causes of youth offences, for example bad relationship with parents.
The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation Annual Report (2007) identifies violence most commonly committed by the youth as outlined below:
Assault is associated with quarrels, rage and domestic violence. These include offences such as murder, assault, Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH), common assault and others,
Rape and sexual assault, including indecent assault and others,
Robbery and other violent property crime. These are linked to offences such as murder, aggravated robbery (primarily involving robbery of civilians in public spaces but also including vehicle hijacking, residential robbery, etc.), common robbery and others.
Graham et al. (2010:69), argue that distinguishing acts of violence from each other is also convenient for separating them in terms of the seriousness of the violence involved. An act of criminality such as robbery may therefore involve grabbing a bag from someone and running away, or it may involve threatening a victim with a firearm, and perhaps killing him, perhaps because he attempted to repel the robbery, or did not cooperate with the robber. Instances of violence can therefore be distinguished from each other, not only in terms of the conditions in which they happen, but also in terms of what might be seen as the degree of violence.
The following factors concerning incidents of violence were identified (Graham et al., 2010:69):
Whether someone is killed in the incident,
Whether someone is intimately violated (raped) and/or physically injured, including the nature of the injury. Injuries tend to be much more severe where weapons are used, particularly firearms,
Whether or not the violence is part of a pattern of victimisation, for instance domestic violence, which is sometimes characterised by repeated acts of violence in an ongoing relationship,
The number of perpetrators involved in the act of violence – this would apply particularly in incidents of rape by groups of men,
When victims are tortured, such as where someone is subjected to extreme pain over a prolonged period. Some robberies in South Africa in recent times have been characterised by torture – in some incidents, this is apparently when the perpetrators suspect that the victim is withholding information about where money, firearms or other belongings are located on the property,
When the victims are children, disabled or elderly people, or otherwise ‘vulnerable’ in one way or another. For instance, some victims suffer much more from trauma (post-traumatic stress) or other negative psychological consequences as a result of violence than others. This is not only related to the nature of the violent incident itself, but also reflects character traits of the victim (one of which might be that the person is already traumatised as a result of previous incidents of victimisation).
The social and environmental causes of crime are presented in the next section.

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SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES OF CRIME

Becroft (2009:2) argues that there are environmental, social or biological factors that point to those individuals who are likely to commit crime. These individuals display severe behavioural problems from a very young age, as early as two years old. Their lives show noticeable signs of being subjected to multiple hostile influences, including family dysfunctionality. Prior and Paris (2005:5) cite Muncie (2001), who argues that although crime is a challenged concept, from a legal point of view, it “… occurs when a specific act as proscribed in law is committed; an act may have harmful consequences and be regarded as morally reprehensible, but if it is not so proscribed then a criminal offence has not been committed.” Defiant behaviour, on the other hand, is not defined in terms of individually proscribed behaviours but rather a set of general conditions; a specific individual act may legally be deemed ‘anti-social behaviour’ when it meets those criteria. Explanations of the phrase ‘anti-social behaviour’ in political and legal circles include the following, according to Prior and Paris (2005:5):
The type of conduct that can hurt other people, excluding direct family members, The person is persistent, stubborn and determined (it has to be serious and happening over an extended period) and also unrepentant, Such anti-social behaviour does not constitute disobedience of criminal law, Children and youths show these signs and later commit criminal offences, and This behaviour starts as a minor matter, but as time goes on the person’s conduct becomes severe and justifies the use of formal, legal interventions.
The ISCPS (South Africa, 2011a:11) cites National Consultative Workshop (2010) that argues:
… all criminal and violent activities provoked by social factors create an unsafe society, and prevent the restoration of social cohesion and social fabric. This phenomenon takes place in a society and in areas where general breakdown of social fibre, values, morals and principles exists, leading to further breakdown in respect and responsibility of citizens and families. In addition, it refers to anti-social behaviour, which violates the rules and norms of society and prevents the realisation of social cohesion and resilience in families.
Palmery and Moat (2002:2) state that the youth represented the leading group of victims of violent crime; and they are also the common criminal offenders. However, it is difficult to find evidence about youth offenders and the motives behind the commission of their crimes. Moreover, the SAPS do not make public the youth crime statistics in terms of age, and the only visible sign of youth involvement in crime is the high number of young people who are in custody as a result of their criminal behaviour. The youth commit different kinds of crimes for various reasons; they do not specialise. They commit some of the following crimes, namely:
Violent crimes such as robbery, assault, rape/sexual assault and car hijackings, Property crimes such as theft of personal property, or burglary.
Youth resilience is discussed in the next section.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
DEDICATION
ABSTRACT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
1. CHAPTER 1: GENERAL ORIENTATION AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.6 VALUE OF THE STUDY
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
1.8 CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED DURING THE STUDY
1.9 KEY THEORETICAL CONCEPTS
1.10 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.11 METHODS TO ENSURE TRUSTWORTHINESS
1.12 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.13 SUMMARY
2. CHAPTER 2: AN OVERVIEW OF YOUTH SOCIAL CRIME PREVENTION IN SOUTH AFRICA: A MANIFESTATION OF COMMUNITY POLICING
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE APPROACH TO CRIME PREVENTION IN DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA
2.3 COMMUNITY POLICING AS CRIME PREVENTION PHILOSOPHY
2.4 POLICY FRAMEWORK GOVERNING CRIME PREVENTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.5 SOCIAL CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAMMES
2.6 SUMMARY
3. CHAPTER 3: YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, SOCIAL CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 BRIEF BACKGROUND OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.3 YOUTH CRIME AND VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.4 SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES OF CRIME
3.5 MEASURES TO CONTROL YOUTH AND JUVENILE CRIME
3.6 YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PLATFORMS
3.7 THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
3.8 PROMINENT YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.9 CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED BY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS
3.10 SUMMARY
4. CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 RESULTS FROM THE INTERVIEWS
4.3 SUMMARY
5. CHAPTER 5: INTERPRETATION OF THE FINDINGS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 OVERVIEW OF EVOLVING THEMES
5.3 SUMMARY
6. CHAPTER 6: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 SUMMARY
6.3 RECOMMENDATIONS EMANATING FROM THE FINDINGS
6.4 CONCLUSION
7. LIST OF REFERENCES
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