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The physical environment and its contribution to crime: a case study of Inanda in Durban, South Africa.

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This study explored the occurrence of crime at Inanda, a township which is located in Durban from the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This area is plagued with high rates of crime and this reality causes unrest in the community and this calls for effective measures to be undertaken to reduce it. The crimes prevalent include, but are not limited to the following: murder, dealing with drugs and its abuse, robbery and rape. Previous studies have revealed that there is a relationship between the physical environment of a place and crime (Cozen, 2002; Reynald, 2011; Schnell, 2017). Likewise, this study sought to investigate causal factors of crimes at Inanda by focusing on the physical environment of the area. It was conducted using a qualitative research approach, which applied a case study research design. It employed ten police officers from the South African Police Services who were interviewed for their experiences and understanding of crime occurring at Inanda. These participants provided data integral to the study and it was analyzed through a thematic analysis. In this analysis three themes emerged which are crime opportunity; challenges; and crime prevention. The findings obtained from these themes revealed that crime occurs as a consequence of poor living conditions owing to poor service delivery and infrastructural underdevelopment in the area. These conditions provide challenges to police officers and other law enforcement agents, and the community in their effort to combat crime. Against this backdrop, the study utilises the model of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design and makes recommendations on how it can be applied to reduce the negative effects of environmental conditions in the area. It is envisaged that doing so enhances the efforts of law enforcement agents and implementation of the model and other prevention strategies used in combating crime. These recommendations include increased resources, service delivery, research studies/projects, and government support of the crime prevention model.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.