The measurable impacts of SAPS on contact crimes in Gauteng
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The greatest impediment to exploring the relationship between crime and socio-economic factors like population growth and employment levels is the absence of reliable data at a sub-provincial level. While it would be useful to examine the relationship between crime levels and the changing socio-economic characteristics at station (precinct) level this is, ultimately, only possible for years in which a census was conducted. Unfortunately the last census was conducted some time ago and the period that followed it was typified by rapid social, political and economic changes. Consequently observations for the inter-census years are generally constrained to highly aggregated units of analysis - like provinces. The aggregation of data to provincial level robs the analysts of both the variation in observations and the volume of data needed to reliably speak to relationships between social, demographic, economic and criminological factors. Nevertheless, despite the loss of information, it is possible to gain some insight into crime trends by examining data at a province-wide level.