The Effect of Vehicle theft and hijacking - Dr Jaco Barkhuizen

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The objectives of this study were to gather information in order to provide desired information to the following questions: …

The objectives of this study were to gather information in order to provide desired information to the following questions:
- How do victims experience the vehicle hijacking?
- What was the general make-up of the incident?
- What are the financial and physical-emotional consequences of vehicle hijacking?
- What are the social consequences of vehicle hijacking?
- And how does the financial and physical-emotional consequences contribute to the social consequences?
- What common trends can be identified to establish the effect that this crime has had on the social fabric in South Africa?

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  • 1. The Effect of Vehicle theft and high jacking Dr Jaco Barkhuizen Ph.D (Human Science-Victimology, Tokiwa, Japan); M.A. (Psych); B.A. (Hons.)(Crim); B.A. (Hons)(Psych) Chadley James (MSc) Clinical Criminology
  • 2. Introduction
    • Crime is as old as mankind, but if crime is an age-old phenomenon, then it is only in recent years that researchers have concentrated their attention to the victims of crime (Wemmers, 2009).
    • Strydom and Schutte (2005:115) exemplify this point by quoting that ‘SA is a traumatised society where crime and violence are taking on crisis proportions’.
    • Vehicle Hijacking is one such crime that is adding to this ‘traumatised society’.
    • Statistics for this crime in South Africa illustrate the point made by Davis (2001) and James (2010), where from 2003 to 2007 there was an average of 13162 reported incidents of this crime a year (Institute for Security Studies, 2010).
    • 2007 to 2008 revealed an increase in the figures to 14201, with the latest figures demonstrating a further increase in the figures for vehicle hijacking to 14915.
    • 1995 that there was an estimated 25 people becoming victims
    • Figure has now risen to 41 people becoming a victim of this crime daily (James, 2010).
  • 3. Introduction
    • What is Victimology?
    • Definition
    • “ victima ” from the Latin language
    • “ logos ” from the Greek language
    • it denotes the direction towards an abstract understanding of the victim
    • Victimology literally means “ the theoretical (abstract) study about victims ”
  • 4. 1.Defining Victimology
    • Definition of the word only states that Victimology denotes the scientific, theoretical study of the victim. It does not state what types of victims are studied nor does it address how this study of the victim came into reality.
    • According to Kuhn (1966)
    • -all science and scientific thinking is nothing more than a specific construction of social reality
    • -scientific thought and paradigms determine different realities
    • - scientific thoughts and paradigms where shaped by previous events and social realities
  • 5. 1.Defining Victimology
    • What shaped victimology?
    • “ Golden age” of the victim
    • -Schafer
    • What is this “Golden age”?
    • -victims were seen to have played a leading role in the resolution of crime and criminal matters
    • -schemes that enabled the victim or the victims’ family (in the case of the death of the victim) to receive payments
    • +Wirgeld (Germanic)
    • +Ericfine (Ireland)
    • +Galanas (Welsh)
    • Growth of state power dissipated and replaced these schemes
  • 6. 1.Defining Victimology
    • Couple of centuries before the victim to become the focus of debate again
    • Cesar Beccaria
    • -Kirchhoff states “ one can find a clear engagement on the side of the victims, the powerless ”
    • -However Beccaria is a “ is a precursor .”
    • Who is then the first victimologist?
    • - Benjamin Mendelsohn (1947)
    • - Frederick Wertham (term)
    • - Hans von Hentig (accepted father of scientific victimology and founder of one of the branches of victimology)
  • 7. 1.Defining Victimology The three definitions of Victimology
    • Complexity associated with the question “Who is the victim?”
    • Three branches evolved to address the question
            • Special victimology
            • General victimology and
            • Victimology of human rights violations including crime.
  • 8. 1.Defining Victimology Victimology and the three definitions of inquiry Victimology as a Science Special Victimology General Victimology Victimology of Human rights violations including crime
  • 9. 1.Defining Victimology
    • - Special Victimology
    • -Hans von Hentig
    • -Any victimological exploration and research should
    • be done under the auspices of Criminology
    • - All special victimological research focuses on
    • victims of crime .
    • - Criticism
    • - “Superfluous”
    • - Too restrictive
  • 10. 1.Defining Victimology
    • - General Victimology
    • -Mendelsohn
    • -focus on all victims, their suffering and on treating these victims
    • - Victimological clinics
    • - Very broad scope
    • - The victim of a criminal
    • - The victim of oneself
    • - Victim of the social environment
    • - Victim of technology and the
    • - Victim of the natural environment.
    • - Criticism
    • -Invasion of the self
    • -Too restrictive
  • 11. 1.Defining Victimology
    • - Victimology of Human Rights Violations including Crime
    • - Elias and Neuman
    • - Human Rights Violation is abuse of people in a way that it abuses any fundamental human rights. It is a term used when a government or a national or international institution violates national or international law related to the protection of human rights
    • - Fundamental human rights are violated when:
  • 12. 1.Defining Victimology
    • Victimology of Human Rights Violations including Crime (Cont.)
    • A certain race, creed, or group is denied recognition as a "person". (Article 2)
    • Men and women are not treated as equal. (Article 2)
    • Different racial or religious groups are not treated as equal. (Article 2)
    • Life, liberty or security of persons is threatened. (Article 3)
    • A person is sold as or used as a slave. (Article 4)
    • Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment is used on a person (such as torture or execution). (Article 5)
    • Punishments are dealt arbitrarily or unilaterally, without a proper and fair trial. (Article 11)
    • Arbitrary interference into personal or private lives by agents of the state. (Article 12)
    • Citizens are forbidden to leave or return to their country. (Article 13)
    • Freedom of speech or religion (including the right to change religion or belief i.e. convert to another religion) are denied. (Articles 18 & 19)
    • The right to join a trade union is denied. (Article 23)
    • Education is denied. (Article 26)
  • 13. 1.Defining Victimology
    • Victimology of Human Rights Violations including Crime (Cont)
    • Crime= Violation of Article 3
    • The definition is not as broad as general and not as restrictive as Special
    • Most comprehensive definition
      • Includes crime victims
      • Includes non crime victims
      • Grounded in International jurisprudence
    • - It should be noted that even thought these three definitions in victimology differ in their definition of “victim”, all three branches is interested in the process of becoming a victim.
    • - Looks at institutional, social, individual and group conditions
    • - Look at the reactions to victims and reactions to victimization
  • 14. 1.Defining Victimology
    • Meta level Definition
    • Victimology is the scientific study of the victim of Human Rights Violations (including crime), of victimization and of reactions of both
  • 15. Conceptualisation
    • Utilising the current approach to victimology in South Africa, where this victimological research was conducted, the definition of a victim for the purpose of this research is as follows:
    • A Person who has suffered harm, including physical or mental injury; emotional suffering; economical loss or substantial impairment of his or her fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of the criminal law (United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power, 1985).
  • 16. Conceptualisation
    • The following operational definition will be used to define vehicle hijacking:
    • The unlawful act by a person to seize or to attempt to seize another person’s vehicle using any force necessary.
    • Based on the definitions of the USA’s federal definition of vehicle hijacking.
    • Added the words “any force necessary” to highlight: perpetrator may use physical force or verbal force to successfully commit the crime, and to reiterate the victimisation risk associated with the crime. These words contributes to the argument that the victims of this crime should be treated differently from victims of burglary.
  • 17. Rationale for the Study
    • Countries or communities that lack economic and social opportunities run the risk of producing high levels of crime, which in turn produces high levels of victimisation.
    • This is supported by the figures present above on the occurrence of vehicle hijacking in South Africa, and therefore with the limited international and national research of this crime on its victims, provides the rationale for this study.
    • Zinn (2002) found that perpetrators of this crime are willing, and prepared, to inflict physical violence on the victim: firstly, to ensure their own personal safety, and secondly, to successfully complete the crime
  • 18. Aims and Objectives of the Study
    • Vehicle hijacking is a serious problem in SA that has generated relatively few scientific studies
    • Information available internationally is also more concerned with the perpetrator, and vehicle theft as a whole
    • The objectives of this study were to gather information in order to provide desired information to the following questions:
    • How do victims experience the vehicle hijacking? What was the general
    • make-up of the incident?
    • What are the financial and physical-emotional consequences of vehicle hijacking?
  • 19. Aims and Objectives of the Study
    • What are the social consequences of vehicle hijacking? And how does the financial and physical-emotional consequences contribute to the social consequences?
    • What common trends can be identified to establish the effect that this crime has had on the social fabric in South Africa?
  • 20. Type of research and Methodology
    • Basic, descriptive, exploratory and quantitative
    • Questionnaire based
    • 145 respondents
  • 21. Type of research and Methodology
    • The questionnaire was divided into four sections:
    • Section A asked the victims to provide certain demographical information (age, race, gender, and employment status)
    • Section B asked the victims about certain characteristics of the incident, and included questions on the physical impact of the crime.
  • 22. Type of research and Methodology
    • The questionnaire was divided into four sections:
    • Section C focused on asking the victim about the financial impact of the crime, and
    • Section D asked the victims about the social impact.
  • 23. Results and Discussion
    • 41 people becoming victims of this crime daily
    • This crime and the fear of re-victimisation, has a lasting impact on the lives of its victims, to the extent that victims take various precautions to prevent re-victimisation.
    • 21% of the 114 victims who suffered financial losses as a result of the crime reported that it had affected the number of times they went out to socialise
    • The majority of the victims who were affected were between the ages of 31-51(71%). More than half of the victims were females and white (54%).
  • 24. Results and Discussion
    • 55 victims who sustained physical injuries, 36% said that as a result of the incident they were affected in some aspect of their daily lives (i.e. work, sports, and general day-to-day life).
    • Victims between the ages of 18-50 (100%) who sustained physical injuries were affected socially, indicating that there is a statistical significance between age and injuries sustained affecting the victims’ social life after the incident ( Chi-square: r =20: 0.003: p <0.05)
  • 25. Results and Discussion
    • 36% of the victims were affected by the financial impact
      • Loss of vehicle
      • Insurance premiums
      • Loss of wages
      • Savings depleted (linked with lack of social activities)
          • Germany/Europe
  • 26. Results and Discussion
      • Types of precautions, and the number of victims who take these precautions in order to try and avoid re-victimisation by vehicle hijacking:
      • - Avoiding stopping at traffic lights or stop streets when possible (68%)
      • - M aintaining a safe distance (66%)
      • - H ijacked in this manner (22%)
      • - 57% utilising a “look out” as they enter and exit their homes
      • - 52% of the victims always notify people when they leave or arrive at their destination (peace of mind)
  • 27. Results and Discussion
      • Types of precautions, and the number of victims who take these precautions in order to try and avoid re-victimisation by vehicle hijacking:
      • - 37% alternate their routes home
      • - 22% drive past their homes to scan the area before they enter
      • - Only 18% select not to drive during busiest hours
      • However:
      • - 64% of the victims reported that even by taking these precautions, they still felt likely to be victimised by this crime
  • 28. Results and Discussion
    • Crime prevention Ideas from Victims:
          • 72% of the victims felt that there is not enough police presence on the roads in order to help prevent this crime, and more is needed
          • 51% of the victims noted that more community watch programs are needed in neighbourhoods
          • 46% of the victims feel that people need to know how to behave during an incident, so as to avoid injury
          • 30% of the victims feel that more signs need to be displayed in high-risk areas
  • 29. Conclusion
          • The reasons that the precautions victims take in order to avoid re-victimisation and feel safer, ultimately end up causing people to go out less. As driving a vehicle in SA is no longer a quick and convenient task for the victim, it now requires considerable planning, and a constant invasion of privacy, as victims feel that someone needs to know where they are and what they are doing at all times, in order to provide them with some feeling of safety.
          • In effect cost not only the victim but community and country in terms of the economy and social cohesion.
  • 30.
    • THE END