, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 181–194 | Cite as

Crossing the racial divide: a spatial-ecological perspective of offenders in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

  • Gregory D. Breetzke
  • André Carl Horn


Post-apartheid South Africa has been plagued by an increase in crime and a concomitant increase in the number of incarcerated offenders. Researchers have postulated many proximate causes for the insidious increase in crime, including the vast socio-economic inequalities existing in the country, a remnant of apartheid-era policies and post-apartheid migrations. This article focuses on the neglected field of the environmental criminology of offenders. Following a spatial-ecological approach the relationship between various socio-economic variables and offender rates in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in South Africa is modelled. The GIS-based methodological procedure includes a crime offender index, correlational analysis and principal components analysis and produced five factors: social status and income, family characteristics, unskilled earner, residential mobility and ageing population. These five factors, accounted for almost 75% of the variance in the offender index. The findings of our research reject race as a determinant of crime, and rather highlight existing and emerging socio-economic inequalities in the globally connected post-industrial city in regions of political instability and economic uncertainty and its relationship with crime and crime prevention.


Crime Offender rate Racial inequalities Social status South Africa 



The authors would like to thank the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) in South Africa for the provision of data of offenders.


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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and MeteorologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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