Crime A Social Phenomenon Criminology Essay

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Crime is a social phenomenon which has live with humankind since time immemorial and due to human nature cannot be eradicated completely. It can only be alleviated to a degree which is society can cope with. Offenders and victims of crimes all co-exist in society and it is practically impossible to delink them. Indeed traditionally the police were lonely acknowledged as the sole institution for combating and preventing crime. However, In modern democratic society 'with the police no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighbourhoods' (BJA 1994:vii). Envisage this way came community policing scheme (as one of the law enforcement and crime prevention strategy) is where a community and the police are partnered in order to prevent and combat crime. Many researchers believe that the origin of Community Policing - CP-Policiamento Comunitario- in many countries was as a result of the inability of local police to respond to the rising population demand on crime prevention (Kyed 2009).

Mozambique, a 36 years old country after colonial era, has experienced wars intermittently across various regimes. The last one persisted for 16 years until 1992. Since then, efforts have been made in order to implant democratic state with accompanying democratic institutions. Although some institutions have been successful, others have failed to withstand the test of time and thus unable to reach their main goals. The Community Policing within the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) is one of the many which has not survived. (Kyed 2009) argues that the appearance of the Community Policing in Mozambique was as a result of the failure of police democratization as well as problems such as being '… partisan the institution, ineffective, under-resourced and violent police force, deeply embedded in colonial and post-colonial paramilitary policing cultures' (ibid:354).

By using both primary and secondary data about crime prevention policies and community policing crime prevention strategy this study critically analyse and tries to understand the reasons why many crime prevention policies implemented by the PRM in Mozambique failed and disappeared with time without previous agreement among all the stakeholders.

1.1 Statement of the problem and justification

The fact that during robberies or their bad activities, offenders rape women, shoot infants or people using guns, weapons or violence to perpetrate their crimes is worrying, and this tend to increase fear and insecurity within the communities (Shabangu 2010). The media announce concrete facts of criminal actions tearing apart victims with less consolation, and the understanding of the government and the citizens is that the crime has increased and less is done by the police. This is the sentiment of lack of safety. Yet, one of the fundamental development aims is to protect citizens from violence, intimidation and to secure their personal property. This requires effective state and non-state policing as well as victim support policies such as crime preventions policies claiming for their principles to be clearly demonstrated for their implementation could be done accordingly. For instance, many researchers such as Goldstein (1987), Greene (2000) and Mastrofski (1993)) advocate the citizen-centred approaches and service delivery on crime prevention, mostly known as Community Policing (CP) crime prevention. This policy has being implemented by many countries, in contrast to traditional law enforcement crime prevention policies approaches. While CP is policing with the involvement of the community, crime prevention means to inhibit, prevent or stopping crime to occur; therefore, community policing crime prevention policy means the principles guiding the involvement of the community on policing in preventing crime to occur in the community (Mbosowo 1995:52 and Hope 1995). This claims for trustful public-private partnership and may possibly lead to an outstanding stability, safety and good services delivery which are the public expectations from a government.

The Mozambican situation is not far away from the deception of this situation; for instance, according to Shabangu (2010) one can understand that in 1990's was increasing gradually continuing the legacy to 2000's. The PRM have crime prevention as its main responsibility requiring commitment by the police officers in charge or the community. Their practices have to be in accord with respective principles. However in reality the situation shows that the practices are not consistent with the principles that guide their implementation and the strategies earlier started tend to disappear or be unsuccessful without any official repeal. Besides, the PRM is characterized as partisan, inefficient, under-resourced and violent and tactically resembling the post-colonial policing cultures (Kyed 2009:356), affecting their practices on crime prevention, and

'Reports of police brutality remain an issue within Mozambique and it is believed that many reported executions are often associated with corruption and ties to organized crime. The government has no independent organ for investigating police misconduct. Further efforts are also required to continue depoliticizing Mozambique's police forces' (Open Society Foundation 2006 as cited by(Shabangu 2010).

Understandably according to (Sen 1999), one could argue that as these remain, development is undermined since the citizen's freedom as mean for development continues to be high jacked by crime. Efforts have been done to change this scenario and they introduced CP as both crime prevention policy and form of PRM reforms (Malan 1999, Seleti 2000, Chachiua 2000, Alar 2010 and Kyed 2009).

Nevertheless, the PRM and CPCs who are truly responsible for crime prevention act as "multi-institution" without clear guidelines compelling the executer to fill the gaps. In practice, they act without discretion, using individual experiences as guidelines for policing, investigation and training leaving apart the principles and less accomplish the goals (Goldstein 1967b:1132). Accordingly, CP is gradually vanishing.

The fact that the CP is vanishing and the gap between its principles and practices are the main concerns of this research. For their better understanding, the researcher holds on the principles and practices of the CP as crime prevention strategy taken into account by the PRM and community. By doing so, this research tries to answer the question why the CP has been gradually abandoned in order to understand the overall situation of the crime prevention policies in Mozambique. One can attribute the emergence of this problem to the antecedent of PRM background which is much mixed-up with the history of Mozambique or others can bring the idea of sabotage. However, this research brings a different approach by critically analyse the contrast between the principles and practices of CP crime prevention policy as practices within a certain cultural, social, political and ideological arena, demonstrating that the PRM practices, as of many police entities, are embedded in a political context guided by certain government ideology. Therefore, a case study on CP crime prevention strategy in Matola leads us for better understanding.

1.2 Background

PRM, as one of the public service institutions, has obligation to serve the public interest in a country where the dilemma of freedom concept lays on both the silence of the gun shots and the existence of sustainable security for development stimulation. Mozambique comes from a historical background encompassed by colonial domination and wars. With an area of approximately eight hundred thousand km2, Mozambique is divided into eleven provinces, 129 districts, 405 administrative posts and 43 municipalities (INE 2007). Geographically, Mozambique can be found in the Southern region of Africa running along the Eastern coastline plated by the Indian Ocean for 2.470 km. It shares borders with Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe Swaziland and South Africa. It has an estimated population of 21,669,278 people, of whom 52% are women and 33.21 % do live in urban areas.(Reisman and Lalá 2012:6)

Under Portuguese rule for approximately five centuries, it was only known as Mozambique in 1891 comprised of different kingdoms namely Mwenwmutapa, Marave, Ajaua, and Gaza (Newitt 1995:v) and declared independent on 25th of June, 1975 after ten years of liberation war initiated by "Frente de Libertacao de Mocambique, Frelimo", [1] , the ruling party since independence (Bowen, 1992:256). In 1977, RENAMO started war against the government which ended in 1992 with the Rome General Peace Agreement. During this period, the police, with the name Popular Police of Mozambique (PPM) - People's Police, had double task, on one hand it was fighting RENAMO, the Rhodesian, Apartheid and Hastings Kamuzu Banda regimes and on the other hand fighting criminality (Alar 2010). After the war and with the introduction of democratization in 1990 (CRM [2] of 1990), the police was given a single task - public security - responsible for the maintenance of the public order, security and tranquillity - OSTP. With the force of new political changes, the police shifted the name from PPM to PRM, Police of Republic of Mozambique - Polícia da República de Moçambique - PRM- by the force of the decree 19/92 of 31 of December. PRM has been with new approaches such as demilitarized and professionalized force according to the rule of law and human right (Lala and Francisco 2006:163 and Kyed 2009:355). This implied major changes on legal framework of the police shifting from its broad emphasis on defence of national unity including repression of ethnic and regional individual ideologies and division to the protection of individual rights and liberties; police impartiality; prohibition on torture; stricter regulations for detention; and legal prosecution of law-offending police officers' (ibid and CRM art. 254).

Similarly there were abolition of popular vigilantes-Grupos de Vigilancia - GV- and militias established after the independence to assist the government in crime control and fighting RENAMO (MINT 2005a in ibid). All the changes made to the PRM were as result of constant reforms based on tackling the formation such as the creation of ACIPOL (Police Academy of Mozambique) in 1999 and the cancellation of the "basic formation of the police" in Matalane and Dondo police training schools to give space to the project of "reciclagem" [3] which ended in 2000. Additionally there were also the allocation of resources such as infrastructures, vehicles and empowerment of the management (Lala and Francisco 2006:168).

However, in a country of 21 million inhabitants and 800.000Km2 of territory, the PRM has approximately 1/1050 ratio of police to inhabitants apart from its partisan characteristic, inefficient, under-resourced, violent and tactically resembling the pos-colonial policing cultures. Meanwhile, this contributed to the emergence of the CP crime prevention strategy. (Kyed 2009:356 and Lala and Francisco 2006:165).

This is broadly considered as the newest police reform in crime prevention policies based on partnership police-community approach as result of lack of satisfaction of traditional law enforcement crime prevention policies focused on individual (Rosenbaum and Lurigio 1994).

1.3 Research objectives and questions

1.3.1 Research Objectives

The main objective of this research is to understand and critically examine the reasons behind the gradual disappearance of many crime prevention policies such as CP taken into account the PRM. This is done by analysing critically the principles of CP as crime prevention strategy and its practices in Matola.

1.3.2 Research Questions

Main question

Why has the Community policing crime prevention policy in Matola moved from its boom point to its failure? In particular, why has the CP failed in Matola?


What are the principles of CP crime prevention policy?

How has the CP been practiced in Matola?

What are the possible factors for the failure of the Community Policing in Matola?

What are the main factors influencing the discrepancy between the policy and practices of CP in Matola?

1.4 Research methods

1.4.1 The selection of the Case study

For the methodological approach to this research, a case study approach was employed. This led to qualitative approach of data collection and analysis. The principles of accessibility, intrinsic interest, pragmatism and purposiveness (O'Leary 2010) and (Yin 2003) are the motivation behind the choice of the CP in Matola.

Matola is a class B municipality with 3 Administrative Posts (AP) and 672,508 inhabitants spread randomly in 41 neighbourhoods. Among other issues, it's mostly characterized by its industrial parks, high crime rate and rapid habitation expansion. Matola is a region with high rate of crime and dangerous criminal. In 2008 'A group of three criminals, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, attacked [the 2nd] police station in […] Matola [700] in the early hours of Sunday morning, killing one police officer, who was on guard duty, and seriously injuring another, […]' (AllAfrica 2008). This and other characteristics of Matola are futher discussed in the chapter four of this paper. These facts make the research of CP in Matola a good case study and the results boost the implementation of CP in Mozambique promoting development by enhancing crime prevention.

1.4.2 Primary data collection

Selection of respondents

Two sampling strategies have been used: simple random and snowball sampling (O'Leary 2010). The first, consisted on identifying targeted population. A list was made for each group then randomly sampling MPs representing different commissions though just two showed up: one from FRELIMO and the other from the MDM); one senior officer of Ministry of Interior- MINT- and five high ranking PRM members from the General Command and Provincial Commands of Maputo City and Province. Using the snowballing sampling technique, interviews and focus group discussion FGD were conducted. For the interviews, 15 Police officers from different sub-units were sampled, among which commanders of police station (1st, 4th and 7th), Chef of Operations (7th and Beluluane), and chiefs of police posts (02 of Juba and 01 of Matola "C"). Moreover, Using the same technique, 15 Chiefs and members of CPC were interviewed, and 04 focus group discussions were formed and conducted where 03 were with 8 elements ( in Kobwe, Matola "C" and Juba) and 01 of 10 elements (Dlavela). Finally, 20 people were interviewed using random selection as sampling technique. This consisted on selecting people on markets and those passing on the streets.

The reasons of selecting these samples are as follows:

The MPs were selected because they belong to the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Human Rights and Legality; Committee on Social Affairs, Gender and Environmental and Committee on Defence and Public Order. Among other duties, these commissions are responsible for the operative oversight of the public legality, safety and social development, therefore are in privileged position to offer rich contribution on the topic under discussion.

The six high ranking police officers: two from the general command of the PRM, one from the Maputo City Command and other two from the Maputo Province Command are better off to give a general analysis on the core points of the community policing in particular and crime prevention policies in general. The same has been taken into consideration for the senior officers in the MINT responsible for CP and planning at national level. It is meaningful to say that at national level the researcher had the opportunity to get in touch with 3 respondents whose life and career have been dedicated to the CP together with the late General Nataniel Jeremias Macamo - the father of the CP in Mozambique. The same characteristic of people was found in other low level among many interviewees who were obtained using the snowballing sampling technique.

Police officers in the police stations and posts are in a better position to tell the real situation concerning community policing as a strategy, their pros and cons as well as possible recommendations. This extends to the members of CPCs and those that implement the CP.

Lastly, citizens are the thermometer not only of the community policing within the community but also of the PRM interventions, so their understanding, feelings and perceptions have been crucial for the study.

Techniques employed to gather data

Three research techniques - interview, observation and document analysis - were employed to gather primary data from the area of jurisdiction of the PRM of Matola. This area encompasses 9 police stations - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, Lingamo and Beluluane - among which, the research was conducted in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th and Beluluane. The same research techniques were used on national and provincial level. Snowballing sampling technique was crucial in the selection of these areas. Bellow, each of the techniques will be explained, including the reason behind its choice and how they were conducted.

Accordingly to (O'Leary 2010), interviewing is a 'method of data collection that involves researchers seeking open-ended answers related to a number of questions, topic area, or themes'. In this research, informal and semi-structured interview were applied in order to create a flowing communication, opening up lines of communication with the interviewees and leaving them relaxed. Moreover, in some cases multiple interviews were done in order to save resources and time. Furthermore, a mixture of citizens, members of CPCs and police officers was used for the conduct of the FGD in order to create a rich discussion and learn about opinions that could not be obtained from the direct questioning (O'Leary 2010). The focus group discussion also allowed the understanding of a multitude of perceptions on CP by observing the attitudes and perceptions of the participants where the quality of crime prevention policies was clearly presented (Nyamathi and Shuler 2006). In order to get the respondents, official channels and protocols were used and anonymity is highly held.

The interviews with the MPs were held in different days following successive missed appointments due to their inconstant and full agendas. The "effect surprise" was used for most of the other interviews, but previous information was given to them in a short period of time. This was to guarantee the neutrality of the answers. At the end of each interview, the interviewees were given enough time for final considerations concerning the topic.

Observation was another tool used in this research where the researcher applied the abilities to gather data through senses where data are taken from the real world differently from being told (O'Leary 2010). The main objective of this was to gather information on how things are done in terrain as well as to get sense of the '... reality and work through the complexities of social interaction' (O'Leary 2010). Three non-participant observations were made where the researcher was present but unobtrusive (O'Leary 2010) - a meeting of CPC in Juba and two sporadic interventions: in Matola "C" in a case of domestic violence and in Juba on a homicide case.

Most of the interviews were recorded for data analysis. It is worth to mention that not all interviews were recorded or given their identification, neither were all interviewees interviewed as planned. The reason behind the first phenomenon has been an ethical issue in which many interviewees preferred to be anonymous [A] - ' want to record, do you want me to appear tomorrow on media and lose my position...?' (Personal interview (PI) with [A]) [4] - Expression of most police officers interviewed. The second issue was because the period in which the research took place, Mozambique in general, and Matola and institutions in particular were facing a period of anxiety and troubles due to the FRELIMOS's X Congress which was being prepared including uncountable meetings for they could choose their representatives to the congress in the Province of Cabo Delgado, so many targeted respondents had overlapped agendas.

The last is document analysis. For this the researcher gathered relevant documents about the process of creation, implementation and the actual stage of the CP in Mozambique and in Matola in particular. These encompass reports of meetings, activities, research works, conference, laws, speeches of various individualities within the MINT and civil society about the CP.

The entire process of data gartering for the primary data took approximately eight weeks with many appointments being cleared out due to the busy and challengeable agenda of many targeted interviewees. For some of them there were no chances to be interviewed. This situation took place mostly at high level of the MINT. Some interviews were made by mobile-phone in order to overcome the impossibility of making appointments and lack of time claimed by some respondents, or in case of needing clarification of certain issue.

1.4.3 Secondary data collection

The primary data collection methods flows together with secondary data collection methods. E-journals, books, papers, written and electronic media, official documents were all used for literature review. These included both published and unpublished sources. Furthermore, videos, photographs and expositions were used as secondary data. These helped not only in triangulation of both primary data from the fieldwork and the literature itself, but also proved useful in framing the theoretical and conceptual framework used in the research.

1.4.4 Data analysis

Three theories - analytic induction, constant comparative analysis and grounded theory - were used for analysing the data. The analytic induction helped the researcher to create concepts and ideas using the gathered data; constant comparative analysis was used for triangulation and with the grounded theory the researcher used the collected data on Community Policing in Matola to build some theories instead of just using the theoretical framework for they could be tested on the ground (Charmaz 2003, Fernandes and Maia 2001, Whitaker 1975). For the last one, case summaries were written and the findings were explained and compared with other documents and secondary data. Triangulation strategy was always used for "cross-check" the reliability of the data (Marshall and Rossman 2011:220-221).

1.4.5 Moral, ethics and limitations of the study

The researcher found it difficult to get in touch with the key persons in the Ministry of Interior and to collect certain data. The first was due to the sporadic agendas of the key persons following meetings and keeping them for long time away from their offices and acceptance from their superiors. The second was due to a lack of policy of data processing and collection which characterises the PRM at any levels. In general, the secrecy that surrounds the police task and the national bureaucracy culture has been the main reasons.

Another concern is the literature related to the topic. Mach research focuses on the CP in different aspects. Most of them have been done on the implementation of CP within countries such as the USA, UK and South Africa. Not few sources exist about the police reforms in Mozambique (Kyed 2009, Malan 1999, Malan 1999, Alar 2010 and Lala and Francisco 2006), yet these sources refer to the CP as one of the items of the police reform. Much less literature was found on CP or crime prevention policies related to the principles and practices in Mozambique itself. In order to overcome this situation, this researcher has used pear review papers and lectures from other countries describing the same or similar topic and theories. Last, but not the least of issues, the research demanded much resources, which were scarce.

Regarding to the ethical issues, the researcher had respected all ethical or moral principles such as 'respect for persons, beneficence, and justice' (Marshall and Rossman 2011). For instance, many of the members of the PRM that were interviewed asked for anonymity.

1.5 Organization of the paper

Apart from the introductory chapter, this paper is structured as follows: Chapter two revises the literature and provides the theoretical and conceptual framework underscoring concepts such as Community Policing and crime prevention policy. Chapter three presents some findings of the fieldwork highlighting the Principles of crime prevention and their practices in Mozambique. The main findings are shown and analysed in chapter four. Finally, Chapter five provides the main conclusion and suggest some recommendations on crime prevention policies in Mozambique