Unemployment and Housebreaking

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By Rector Sandema Unemployment and Type of Offence Unemployment has been steadily rising over the past few years and it has been estimated that the father in perhaps one in six families is without a job at some stage (NISER, 1991:311). Table. 8. Relationship between Unemployment and Type of Offence Offence Unemployment Labourer Temporary labourer Semi- skilled Professionals Other Total House breaking 15 (83%) – 1 (6%) 1 (6%) 1 (6%) – 18 (8%) Gun pointing 106 (60%) 6 (3%) 11 (6%) 26 (15%) 27 (15%) 2 (1%) 176 (74%) Others 22 (51%) 2 (5%) – 6 (14%) 3 (7%) 10 (23%) 43 (18%) Totals 143 (60%) 8 (3%) 12 (5%) 33 (14%) 31 (13%) 12 (5%) 237 (100%) This increase in the rate of unemployment in Windhoek especially, has been due to the declining productivity in rural areas and the high influx of people from rural to urban areas (NISER, 1991: 14). Unemployment disrupts lives of both individuals and families. In order to explain the relationship between employment and crime in Windhoek, the following table is used. The above scenario is also true if one looks at the current figure of unemployment, which is said to be at nearly 30% in the country according to the 2001 National Population and Housing Census. If translated, the 30% unemployed means that of the 132 055 total labour force of Windhoek, only 93 223 are employed. The total numbers of 38 832 people in Windhoek were unemployed during the time of the writing (NPHC, 2001). Employment and Housebreaking Table 8 shows the relationship between employment and housebreaking related offences. Eighteen cases on employment were recorded in relation to housebreaking. Fifteen (83%) of those who committed robbery related to housebreaking were unemployed, while the remaining three (6%) in each employment category were employed as temporary labourer, semi skilled labourer or professional. It is clear from Table 9 that the majority of those who committed robbery through housebreaking were unemployed (83%). Employment and gun pointing Table 9 reveals that 176 cases of gun pointing related robberies were recorded. Of these, 106 (60%) were unemployed. Of six cases (3%) were labourers, 11 cases (6%) were temporary labourers while 26 cases (15%) and 27 cases representing (15%) were either semi skilled or professionals. The remaining two (1%) were from other job categories. Other offences related robberies registered 22 (51%) in the unemployed job categories, two (5%) in the labourer job category, six (14%) in the semi skilled job category while the professional and other job categories recorded three (7%) and 10 (23%) respectively. From the analysis of the above information, it is clear that unemployment dominated all offence categories studied. This means that although all people from different employment categories may commit robbery, the situation is mostly serious among those who are unemployed. Key informants interviewed on whether or not employment was a factor influencing crime indicated the following. The prison deputy commissioner said, “Employment is really a factor in crime commission as people are frustrated when they are without jobs and they seek and cannot find one, they commit crimes such as robberies.” Another informant noted that people had come in high numbers to Windhoek in search of jobs and when this fails, they resort to any means even if such means are against the law. “People come to Windhoek in order to look for jobs but if they fail to get one, they engage in crime.” The above is evident if one looks at Figure 7 above, which shows 60% of the overall offences, being committed by the unemployed. Table. 9. Relationship between Education and Type of Offence Offence No Schooling Grade1- 4 (junior primary) Grade 5- 7(senior primary) Grade 8 – 12(secondary) Higher (post secondary) Total House breaking 1 (5%) 4 (20%) 7 (35%) 7 (35%) – 19 (8%) Gun pointing 14 (8%) 24 (14%) 31(18%) 103 + 3 (61%) – 175 (74%) Others 2 (5%) 6 (14%) 7 (17%) 26 (62%) 1 (3%) 42 (18%) Totals 17 (7%) 34 (14%) 45 (19%) 139 (59%) 1 (0.42%) 237 (100%) Note: Out of 243 cases studied only 237 were valid and the other 6 were missing.