Burglary in gated communities: an empirical analysis using routine activities theory

SOURCE: International Criminal Justice Review
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2019
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.D.Breetzke, E.G.Cohn
KEYWORDS: BURGLARY, CRIME PREVENTION, GATED COMMUNITIES, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEY (SASAS)
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11038

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Abstract

Gated communities have experienced phenomenal growth worldwide due in part to increasing fear of urban crime and violence. However, very little is known about the effect of gating a neighbourhood on rates of criminal victimization. In this article, we fill this gap by examining the relationship between residential burglary and gated communities in Tshwane, South Africa. South Africa has over 26,000 registered gated communities and high levels of violent and property crime, making it a suitable geographical focus area for research of this nature. Using variables informed by routine activities theory, we ran a series of regression models to assess the independent effect of gating on rates of day and night time burglary. The findings indicate that gated neighborhoods have a significant positive association with burglary rates in both day and night time models, suggesting that residing in a gated community actually increases ones risk of burglary victimization. Possible explanations for these unexpected findings are discussed in the context of South Africas unique sociopolitical past.