PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

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Chapter 3 THE GESTALT OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERIES

INTRODUCTION

According to SMEs, associated robberies originated in Tembisa (a township in the East Rand of South Africa) during the late 1980s and early 1990s, where it was called “plane” due to the victim being tailed by the perpetrator(s) (Louw 2014:4; SME1, SME2 SME8, 2016). Currently, robberies of this nature occur nationally in metropolitan areas of big cities where individual bank clients, stokvels or saving club members and small business owners are targeted (News24 2010). “Business people are usually aware of the possibility that their business could be robbed, but what doesn’t occur to them is the chance that criminals could follow them as they leave the office and rob them at home” (Davis 2016). Additionally, it is a well-known fact that criminals look for opportunities to commit crimes at facilities that are the easiest targets and less protected (Coker 2016). Hence an associated robber, for example, would rather rob an individual than a bank.
As previously elaborated on in sections 1.1 and 1.5.1, bank clients (i.e. individuals, saving club members, small business owners) are by association to the bank, primary victims of associated robberies where they are targeted either before affecting deposits or after withdrawals of large amounts of cash. In comparison to the most common bank-related violent crimes such as bank or CIT robbery, associated robbery has received little research attention; resulting in the lack of scientific literature where this crime type is concerned, especially in an Africanised fashion (see section 1.2). This dearth of literature proves to be problematic where crime prevention is concerned, mainly because those responsible for devising strategies to prevent crime cannot do so when little is known about the specific crime in question. Consequently, it is the aim of this chapter to illuminate the gap (especially between research and practice) in the knowledge of associated robberies. In this way, the increase of literature (specifically the research findings of this study) may possibly assist practitioners (i.e. the CJS, the banking industry, SABRIC) in their decision making when dealing with associated robberies.
Moreover, closing the gap in literature might pioneer further research by other researchers who may be interested in conducting research in the topic at hand, but had little information about prior to this study (refer to section 1.3). Also, improved literature will increase the readers’ knowledge of the crime of associated robbery.
Due to the said lack in scientific sources, the aforementioned aim could only be achieved through in-depth interviews with SMEs to share in their knowledge and experience regarding interaction between the dynamic contexts of associated robberies (see section 2.3.1). Additionally, to further make up for the lack of scientific information on the crime in question, literature on the general types of robbery is used as a point of departure. In this way an attempt is made (through drawing from existing scientific literature and taxonomies of robberies) to point out characteristics which may also be applicable to the crime of associated robbery. This chapter, therefore, focuses on the secondary objective of this study, namely to add to the constricted scientific information (see section 1.3). Thus this study might pioneer further research in the field of criminology, particularly on the uniqueness of the topic at hand (also see section 1.3).
The objectives of this chapter are to discuss the various typologies of robbers, followed by typologies of robbery, as identified by criminologists. The crime of associated robbery is discussed in terms of the MO and the pluralistic nature of associated robberies, including the planning phase, operational phase and post-offence behavioural characteristics. Finally, the author attempts to unpack whether associated robbery should be categorised as either a violent or an economic offence. As explained before (see section 1.2.1), there is no crime type called associated robberies. Therefore, an attempt is made to provide guidelines for possible crime categories under which the crime of associated robbery may be classified; which might aid the involved stakeholders (the CJS, the banks and SABRIC) on how to better deal with the crime.

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THEOBBER

Robbe Rr typologies

The following section focuses on the discussion of typologies of robbers, as explained by Conklin (1972:69-71). As a new phenomenon in South Africa, the crime of associated robbery needs to be considered in terms of existing robber typologies to make a contribution to existing literature on the phenomenon. Conklin’s taxonomy of robbers was used in this study because some elements of it – as explained in the section(s) to follow – fit the unique nature of associated robbery.

 Professional robbers

Professional robbers are the most organised of the four existing types of robbers and they have a “long-term commitment to crime as a source of livelihood” (Siegel 2013:359). They plan their crime meticulously prior to its commission and they use money to support a flashy or pleasure-seeking lifestyle. Some focus solely on robberies, while others mix robberies with further types of offences. Professional robbers are motivated to commit robberies because it is direct, quick and bears a lot of profit. These types of robbers are mostly unemployed and they tend to plan three to four “big scores” annually to support their lifestyle (Conklin 1972:70; 2013:359). Characteristics central to this category of robbers are planning and skill as they often operate in groups where specific roles are assigned to each individual. Professional robbers are known for stealing large amounts of cash from commercial establishments. In addition, after a robbery, professional robbers may stop committing robberies for a short while until it is “quiet” again (Siegel 2013:359).

Opportunistic robbers

This category of robbers will steal small amounts of money when an opportunity presents itself or when a potential target becomes available. Unlike their professional counterparts, they are not committed to robberies because they steal from drunken people, the elderly or other vulnerable individuals – but only when they need cash (Conklin 1972:70). Opportunistic robbers are often teenagers and members of a gang who are not concerned about planning their offences (Conklin 1972:70). Even though they commit their robberies as a gang, they are unorganised because they do not meticulously discuss details concerning the crime, such as weapons or get-away routes (Conklin 1972:70; Siegel 2013:359).

 Addict robbers

Addict robbers steal to support their dependence on substances such as drugs. These robbers are not fully committed to robberies because they only commit robberies to feed their drug habit. In comparison to the professionals, they rarely plan their crime or use weapons, but they are more careful when compared to opportunistic robbers. Their selection of a target presents minimal risk; but when they are in a state of desperation they are at times not so careful when selecting their victim. They do not do “big scores” because they only want enough money for their next fix (Conklin 1972:70; Siegel 2013:359).

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Alcoholic robbers

These are the type of robbers who steal because they want to feed their excessive consumption of alcohol. They steal for two reasons (Conklin 1972:71; Siegel 2013:359):

  • When they are in a state of disorientation and they try to get money to buy alcohol.
  • When they can no longer be employed because of their addiction and they need money.

Unlike the other types of robbers, alcoholic robbers are not committed to robbery as a way of life. They randomly plan their crimes and do not contemplate their victim selection or escape. As a result, they are easily apprehended (Conklin 1972:71; Siegel 2013:359).

The characteristics of associated robberies

Quoted by Moneyweb (2010), the chief executive officer (CEO) of SABRIC, Kalyani Pillay, said at a media briefing that: “What appeared at first to be a petty, opportunistic crime now has all the makings of organised operations that systematically target innocent users of [the] banking system.” Pillay (in Moneyweb 2010) further stated that the organised fashion in which associated robberies are committed, makes it difficult for the crime to be investigated and, in turn, prevention is also not easy. In agreement with the above statement, SMEs interviewed in this study unanimously report that associated robbers do plan their crimes (see section 3.4.2.1). In agreement with the aforementioned, Louw6 (2014:5) reports in his study that “the criminal grouping [of associated robbers] is well organized and each individual knows his function” (see section 3.4.2.1). However, the planning and casing of the target is not done weeks or months before the attack, as in the case of higher risk robberies such as CIT robberies, as discussed in a recent study conducted by Thobane (2014:161-163).

Chapter 1  GENERAL ORIENTATION: CONCEPTUALISATION OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERY 
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.4 VALUE/IMPORTANCE OF THE RESEARCH
1.5 KEY THEORETICAL CONCEPTS
1.6 PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES
1.7 THESIS LAYOUT
1.8 SUMMARY
Chapter 2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY.
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 RESEARCH APPROACH
2.3 RESEARCH DESIGN
2.4 TRUSTWORTHINESS, VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY .
2.5 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
2.6 LIMITATIONS
2.7 SUMMARY
Chapter 3 THE GESTALT OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERIES 
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 THE ROBBER
3.3 THE CRIME OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERY
3.4 MODUS OPERANDI (MO)
3.5 THE PLURALISTIC NATURE OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERY
3.6 ASSOCIATED ROBBERY AS A CRIME GENERATOR
3.7 SUMMARY
Chapter 4  QUALITATIVE DATA ANLYSIS: THE PHENOMENON OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERY FROM A VICTIM’S PERSPECTIVE.
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 VICTIMISATION CONTEXTS
4.3 REASONS FOR VICTIMISATION
4.4 IMPACT ON THE VICTIM
4.5 ASSOCIATED ROBBERY AS A CRIME GENERATOR
4.6 PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
4.7 SUMMARY
Chapter 5 QUANTITATIVE SURVEY DATA ANALYSIS 
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA
5.3 SUMMARY
Chapter 6 THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERIES 
6.1 INTRODUCTION .
6.2 CRIME AS OPPORTUNITY.
6.3 SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM THEORIES
6.4 EXPLAINING OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR
6.5 SUMMARY
Chapter 7 VICTIMISATION REDUCTION 
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 THE IMPACT OF ASSOCIATED ROBBERY
7.3 VICTIMISATION REDUCTION
7.4 CRIME PREVENTION THROUGH USE OF THEORY
7.5 GEOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR
7.6 CRIME PREVENTION THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN (CPTED)
7.7 CHALLENGES
Chapter 8 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, RECOMMEDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 
8.1 INTRODUCTION .
8.2 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
8.3 RECOMMENDATIONS
8.4 STUDY LIMITATIONS
8.5 CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY
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