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The policing of rural and urban crimes: a case study of the Msinsini and Umbilo policing precincts in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The SAPS crime statistics for 2016 financial year indicates an increase and a decrease in various crime causations as compared to the past year (2015). According to this data, crime in South Africa decreased between 2015 and 2016, with 2.1 million crimes reported in 12 months measured. Notably, all general categories of crime decreased, except for contact crimes which remained “stubborn’. The SAPS 2016 statistics were compiled in conjunction with Statistics South Africa results to ensure that the process was subject to the tightest quality control. This came after criticism in 2015 that the police statistics were unaudited, bringing it into question its reliability and validity. The biggest crime category to increase over the past year (2015) was robbery of Cash-In-Transit (CIT) vehicles, though this is off a relatively low base. Between April 2014 and March 2015 financial years, there were 119 reported cases of these robberies – in the April 2015 to March 2016 period, this jumped 15.1% to 137 cases. For the purpose of this study, a sheer number of crimes were reported and the biggest increase was in cases of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which saw 7,598 more cases reported in 2016. General theft and drug-related crimes remain the biggest problems in the country, with over 340,000 and just under 260,000 reported crimes in those categories respectively, though this is an improvement from 2015. Break-ins at residential properties is the third biggest crime in the country, with over a quarter of a million cases. In response to these crimes, the local SAPS (Msinsini and Umbilo Police Stations) in executing their duties on preventing and combating of crimes have faced various challenges as to serve the citizens of South Africa in protecting them from crime. This was discussed through the analysis of the types of crimes occurring in the selected rural area as compared to the urban city of Durban, KZN; the policing challenges of crimes occurring in these areas and; the crime prevention strategies of policing crimes in the areas of study. The prevailing recommendations for effective policing strategies in contemporary South Africa are also discussed. This study has adopted a qualitative research approach, which allows the researcher to uncover salient issues that can later be studied using more structured methods. This study has used exploratory research design to respond to the study objectives and research questions and to provide an in-depth understanding of SAPS members’ perceptions on this subject. The findings of this study provide that the police officials in the rural (Msinsini policing precinct) and urban (Umbilo policing precinct) are both experiencing various challenges such as lack of adequate resources, shortage of police members, lack of adequate vehicles and vehicles that suit the demographic settings of the policing area in order to prevent the crime activities in their policing precincts. The prevailing recommendations of this study based on participants’ responses relate to the hiring of more police members, providing the police with current resources and training methods, which can accommodate the current South African standard of living characterised by technological advancements, societal disorganisation, and the supply of vehicles that suit the environment of the area.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.