Fear of crime, social cohesion and home security systems in post-apartheid South Africa : a case study of ward 33, Durban.
This study investigates the causes of fear of crime amongst residents of Ward 33 in KwaZulu-Natal, and the impact of this fear on their behaviour; the relationship between social cohesion and fear of crime; how residents are trying to make themselves safer in their own homes; and whether these measures are indeed producing feelings of greater safety and security. The research methodology employed for this dissertation is mainly qualitative, in particular the use of storytelling and photographs, which were used as a “canopener” to get respondents to discuss their security choices as well as the choices made by others. The findings indicate that the sources and extent of fear of crime vary amongst residents. Fear of crime emanates from the physical and social environment as well as the kinds of information shared within communities. Embedded within the narratives is a strong association of race with crime, which is deepening divisions in the ward. The findings also question whether greater heterogeneity automatically reduces social cohesion. As far as home security is concerned, the northern part of the ward is generally more affluent and this is reflected in the more diverse security measures adopted by residents. In discussing the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which is based on the idea that crimes are less likely to occur when properties are visible, residents’ attitudes tended to vary according to their respective fear of crime, their financial status, and specific location within the ward. A theme running consistently through the literature and in some of the narratives is the effect of geography on how residents and potential criminals view an area. The regeneration of some parts of the ward and neglect of others shows the differential outcomes when local community members choose whether or not to be proactive and participate in such projects.
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