Exploring trust in perception of crime models in South Africa

Type Journal Article - African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies
Title Exploring trust in perception of crime models in South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://www.umes.edu/cms300uploadedFiles/AJCJS/Volume_7_Issue_1_and_2/VOL7.1 SMITH FINAL.pdf
Social capital has been poked and prodded by scores of intellectuals across a vast array of disciplines since 18th century Progressive L.J. Hanifan first coined the term (Hanifan 1916), and its resurgence in popularity over the last 30 years has fueled much contemporary discourse in the social sciences. Particularly in criminology, scores of studies conducted during this period articulate the positive and negative effects of social capital in the creation and maintenance of safe, healthy communities and civil social structures (Jacobs 1961; Coleman 1990; Putnam 2000; White N.d.). However, while conceptually social capital and the components of which it is comprised (e.g., trust, reciprocity, civic engagement) are not inherent to one locale, much of this research traditionally considers only
Western perspectives grounded in U.S. or U.K. scholarship. This study was an attempt to rectify this gap by exploring the relationship between one particularly common component of social capital – trust – and public perceptions on crime in a setting seldom covered in the extant literature: South Africa. Confirmatory factor analysis and OLS regression revealed varying magnitudes of positive relationships between trust and crime perceptions the state of safety and violence in the country, as well as the quality of the government's handling of crime. Implications for these findings are discussed.

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