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04 November 2011 at 09:35 - Posted by Anonymous

Criminals turn to kidnapping


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As police clamp down on bank robberies and cash-in-transit heists, criminals are turning to kidnapping, the Institute for Security Studies has said in Pretoria.

The institute"s senior researcher, Dr Johan Burger, said kidnapping incidents had increased 55% in the past three years. 
 
"We are experiencing piracy of our own within our borders in the form of kidnapping, and I have not heard anyone expressing concern over this," he said. 
 
"When I looked at provincial crime statistics, I noticed in every province kidnapping increased, and it struck me that this is a problem and is almost unnoticed. When the national crime statistics were released, it was not visible and perhaps we did not do our analysis well enough," Burger said. 
 
The national crime statistics released in September showed a 10% decrease in house robberies, from 18786 cases last year to 16889 cases, cash-in-transit heists declined to 291 cases from last year"s 467 cases and hijacking dropped below 11000 cases for the first time in five years to 10627 reported cases. 
 
Burger said criminals were creative and opportunists who did risk analysis constantly. 
 
He said when criminals realised it was becoming more risky to commit certain crimes, they moved into something less risky. 
 
Burger said it appeared that kidnapping was becoming a focus area for criminals to get cash with low risk as quickly as possible. 
 
Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros termed this "criminal diversifying" and said there was a need to take a closer look at this trend. 
 
He said the increase did not necessarily mean criminals were particularly turning to kidnapping because victims of hijacking and house robberies were kidnapped and released later to prevent them from reporting the incidents to the police instantly. 
 
Petros said because of the strategy in place to combat hijacking, where the goal is now to arrest the criminals instead of recovering vehicles, criminals do not release their victims but keep them in the boot and release them once the car has disappeared. 
 
"When this incident is reported the hijacking is registered as a kidnapping too, even though it was not a classic case where money was demanded for their [victim"s] release," he said.
 
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