M. Thobane M
Department of Criminology and Security Science, School of Criminal Justice, College of Law, University of South Africa (UNISA)
The aim of the study upon which this presentation is based was to evaluate the possibility of using criminal career research in the development and evaluation of crime control strategies, specifically for Cash-in-Transit (CIT) and/or bank robberies The research employed a concurrent triangulation mixed-method approach where quantitative and qualitative data were collected concurrently but analysed separately through the use of SPSS and Atlas.ti respectively. Forty offenders incarcerated at six correctional centres around the Gauteng province of South Africa for robbery with aggravating circumstances were interviewed as research participants. Since the researcher had no prior information on the total number of the population, purposive sampling (i.e. snowballing) was executed to draw the sample.
This study attempted to provide answers to 11 research questions. However, for the sake of this paper only six will be tackled.
- At what age does offending start?
- At what age does offending desist?
- What motivates CIT robbers to start and to continue offending?
- Is offending specialised or versatile among this category of offenders?
- Did offending escalate from petty crimes to more serious crimes?
- What offending risk factors are prevalent amongst armed robbers?
Four developmental and life-course theories (i.e. Moffit’s developmental taxonomy; Sampson and Laub’s age-graded theory; Loeber’s three-pathway model and Farrington’s Integrated Cognitive Antisocial Potential (ICAP) theory) were all consulted to underpin the study.
This research found that offenders launched their criminal career at a very young age of, 11 years, by committing petty crimes such as theft and then, as they grew older, they progressed to more serious and violent crimes such as vehicle hijacking and CIT robberies. Thus, it is pivotal that crime prevention policies also focus on interrupting the root causes of crime in the early stages of one’s life in order to prevent continuation of delinquent behaviour.