Crime is a public wrong. It is an act strongly disapproved by society. Crime includes murder, dacoities, fraud, rape, etc. Each society has its own perspective of defining crime. For commission of crime, there should be a criminal intention and a criminal act. No individual is a born criminal; the criminal intention and behaviour of an individual are a result of various social, economic, biological and psychological causes. This study was conducted on statistic analysis of report cases of crimes in Enugu State for a period of ten years (1995 – 2004). The study specifically was aimed at ascertaining the most prevalent form of crime in Enugu State, if there are no differences in crime against persons and that against property, report the crime cases over ten years period (1995 – 2004), and make recommendations on possible ways of curbing criminal activities in the state. Data were collected from Enugu Police Command on recorded crime cases within the period of survey.
A man’s life is obviously his most cherished property and the most basic of all fundamental human rights. Nobody has the right to ham or even take away another person’s life except as a last resort another in self-defense.
A renowned English advocationist, Henry Thomas Buckee (1893) once said that the society prepares the crime while the criminal commits it.
Richard Under (1902) also said that all human beings are criminals but the difference is the degree. Whichever way we see that, it must be noted that crime is as old as the society itself, and no country, whether advanced or not can absolve itself of crime and also that we do not get involved in crimes of violence does not mean that we are not affected by them.
Since human being are dynamic in nature, it is worthy of note that punishment to a crime can also change since crimes do change from time to time. Under decree number 20 of 1984, at least eleven offences carried death penalty. These are arson, tampering with oil pipelines, import or export of mineral oil, one with intention of defrauding the Federal Military Government, dealing in cocaine, dealing in petroleum products, treason, Kidnapping, Lynching and possession of arms and ammunition. (News watch magazine Jan 20.1986). But today, events have overtaken these decree. It was consequently withdrawn and more suitable ones promulgated to suit the sophistication of commission of crimes, question and because of this varied nature of crimes, the relevant question bother on how to determine the punishment that commensurate with the crimes, since both our more conscience and social justice should also come into play here.
Hence, one wishes to define crime as an act committed in violation of a law prohibiting it or committed in violation of a law ordering it, which are variously punishable by death, impoundment, or imposition of fine or restrictions.
In Enugu State today, the rate at which cases of crimes are being reported needs to be given an urgent attention. We hear over the radio, in news papers and televisions, of various cases of house being burgled, cars being snatched at gun points, houses being burnt, properties being destroyed, people being massacred etc. Some of the things that come to mind are: what are the factors responsible for these atrocities, and how can we reduce the rate at which these crimes are being committed?
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Criminality is part and parcel of human nature and society. That is why no society can claim to be completely free of crimes. But the types of criminal behaviour tend to follow the pattern of social and economic development of a given society. It is therefore not unexpected that a society at a low level of development tends to experience an upsurge in the rate of violent crimes such as armed robber, politically motivated killings, the use of illegal weapons, ethnic and religious clashes and the like (Ohijini 2005: 1).
Crime causes loss of live and property as well as overwhelming fear of insecurity. These have serious consequences for democracy, economic development, social capital and associational life generally. Individual and societal aspirations for democracy, development, human rights, high standard of living are undermined by high level of crime.
Increase in violent crime and delinquency, is a common feature of countries in transition. This has been attributed to the uncontrollable nature of change in its formative stage, demobilization or dismantling of repressive security apparatuses used by previous authoritarian regimes in controlling crime and the unequal socio-economic opportunities brought about by economic liberalization programs. What differentiate societies
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
Most Nigerians agree that crime rates and insecurity in the country are very high and that over the last years, the country has experienced a steep rise in crime. Organized and non-organized crime and attendant vices such as smuggling of contrabands, especially firearms, counterfeiting, money-laundering, armed robberies, kidnapping, car hijacking, and human trafficking have become sources of worry for the Nigerian government. Likewise, incidents of high profile crime and politically motivated killings and kidnapping have lately compounded the complexity of the crime situation in the country.
The South East zone of the country appears to be the worst hit. Newswatch Magazine (July 5, 2010: 11) in its editorial described the south east zone as a no-go area because of violent crimes which include kidnapping, robbery and assassination. Scroll Magazine (July 5, 2010: 13) in its cover page story stated that the region has become a goldmine for hoodlums and criminal elements who have mastered the art of abducting innocent individuals including children for huge ransoms. Newswatch Magazine (July 5, 2010: 11) in its editorial went further to state that all these have created one huge spectra of crime and criminality out of a region where people are known for hard work and living peaceful lives.
On the recent kidnap of four journalists in Abia State on the 11th of July 2010 and the state of insecurity in the country. Agbese, Dan (2010) succinctly puts it this way.
“To state the uncomfortable and the obvious: we are all prisoners and potential victims of armed robbers and kidnapper. We live in cages surrounded by high walls and iron gates. We travel on our roads with two eyes in front and two at the back of our heads. The rich protect themselves with armoured vehicles and armed policemen or private security men. Our hearts are permanently in our mouths because whatever individual precautions we may take, we are collectively unprotected down the length and breath of the country”
The government is on the verge of failing to uphold the sacred constitutional duty to protect the lives and property of the citizens. The increasing rise in crime wave around the country could undermine the current drive by the Federal Government to achieve the Vision 20 – 20 and the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015 if not checked.
Hence the problem of the study is on statistical analysis report cases of crimes in Enugu State.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to find out, describe and analyse the report cases of crimes in Enugu State. Specifically, the study seeks to:
- ascertain the most prevalent form of crime in Enugu State
- ascertain if there are no differences in crime against persons and that against property.
- Report the crime cases over ten years period (1995 – 2004)
- Make recommendations on possible ways of curbing criminal activities in the state.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions guided the study:
- What are the factors that motivate people to commit crime in Enugu State?
- Which forms of crime are the most rampant in Enugu State?
- Is crime rate in Enugu State actually increasing or decreasing?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The research hypotheses that guided this study are as follows:
- HO: There are no significant differences among various forms of crime committed in the State.
- H0: There is no significant difference in the crime against persons and crime against property in the State.
- H0: There are no significant increases in the trend for crime as the year progresses
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This is an empirical study on trends in criminal activities in Enugu State. The variables understudies are; the causes/motivations for crime, most prevalent forms of crime in the State, and the trend pattern over the period understudy (i.e 2000 to 2009)
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be useful to law enforcement agencies
It will bring to the fore the causes, most prevalent form of crime, problems in fighting crime as well as possible solutions. This will help the law enforcement agencies in laying strong foundations in combating crime in the country.
This study will provide information on the depth of criminal activities and enable the government to know the need to ensure security to its citizens. It will create awareness on those barriers militating against proper security of lives and properties in major cities. The government will see the need to properly equip the security agencies and the need to provide incentives for the personnel for instance through seminars/workshops, regular in-service training, regular promotions and payment of salaries.
This will add to the body of knowledge on causes as well as trends in criminal activities in urban areas and will serve as a guide to other researchers who may have interest in crime study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Crimes are frequently classified as
- Offences against persons: These crimes are committed against individuals or groups, and may result in physical or psychological harm to the victim(s). These include, for example, murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, suicide, grievous harm wounding, assault, child stealing, slave dealing; rape and indecent assault, unnatural offences.
- Offences against property or property crimes: These crimes are committed with the intent to permanently deprive or destroy or damage the property of another, either as individuals or groups. These include stealing; robbery and extortion, burglary, house breaking, false pretences/cheating, store breaking, forgery, receiving stolen property, unlawful possession, arson and other offences.
- Offences against currency and lawful authority: include such crimes as forgery of currency notes, coining offences, breach of public peace, gambling, perjury, bribery and corruption, escaping from lawful custody and other offences.
- Offences against Local Acts: Include offences against Traffic Acts, offences against Township Acts, offences against Liquor Acts, offences against Dog Acts, offences against Firearms Acts, Narcotics and other offences.
- Conventional Crimes: Under this, we have violent crimes and property crimes. Violent crimes include murder, armed robbery, rape, manslaughter, ritual killings, kidnapping and assault. Property crimes include burglary, larceny, shoplifting, motorcycle and bicycle theft, motor vehicle theft, theft of car accessories, embezzlement, fraud, arson and purse snatching.
- White-Collar Crime: It is any illegal act, punishable by criminal law that is committed in the course of a legitimate occupation or pursuit by a corporation or by any otherwise respectable person.
- Organized crimes: Are crimes that involve many people who participate in different stages of the criminal acts for it to be successful. These crimes include human trafficking, drug trafficking, cyber crime, money laundering and online banking, advanced feed fraud (419), corruption, assassination etc.
- Crimes without Victims: Include prostitution, drug abuse, and gambling.
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