URBANIZATION AND CRIME IN UYO URBAN: TRENDS AND CONSEQUENCES

URBANIZATION AND CRIME IN UYO URBAN: TRENDS AND CONSEQUENCES

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CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

          Generally, crime can be seen as an infraction of both the basic principle of law and order, and the norms of civilized behavior. No society is immune from this social problem but what differs is the frequency and magnitude of the situation and the response mechanisms to address it.

          As part of the human community, Nigeria is currently caught in the web of crime dilemma, manifesting in the upsurge of both violent and non-violent crimes. But the most alarming and terrifying, is the present escalation of violent crimes and the barbarity, lethality and trauma the perpetrators unleash on the hopeless citizenry across the length and breath of the country. Notable in this regard are the rising incidents of armed robbery, assassination and ransom taking, kidnapping, which are now ravaging the polity and spreading fears and anxieties about public safety. So far, the prevalent level of violent crimes in Nigeria has cast asterisk on the political will of some of those in the corridors of power in the country to protect the citizens through the instrumentality of the law enforcement agencies, especially the Nigerian Police Force, which is constitutionally charged with maintaining law and order.

          Suffice it to say, that a bizarre situation where any government abdicate its sole responsibility in this regard will give room to the emergence of a kind of Hobbesian state where life is solitary, nasty, brutish  with violence on men. Already, many social analysts are eager to draw a parallel between the current tempo of kidnapping saga in Nigeria. The countries infamous for it just like Colombia, Mexico and Biolivia, where various drug gang and Marxist guerillas are wreaking havock. 

          Crime refers to those activities which break the law of the land and are subject to official punishment (Haralambos, 1980). Durkheim (1951) defined crime as “normative not pathological. For Durkheim, the social world is essentially normative in its essence; it is a collection of instructions for individuals about how to live in  group. It is also dynamic; with sets of instruction, the model allows for evolution and revolution; but any change is always a feedback effect of the rules in the first place, never simply the result of individual decisions or initiative. Durkheim did not claim to explain crime; but was concerned at the time to dispel some common misconceptions about criminality and criminals,  that they denote a pathological state of the society. Durkheim thought of society as a living organism, widespread practice can still be “abnormal” if the historical conditions that made it useful and relevant have disappeared. It then follows that since crime is always present and linked to social conditions; it is therefore “normal” and not pathological. No society is without crime and no society could ever totally enforce its norms. The Marxists on the other hand, believe that the basis of crime is the private ownership of the means of production and all that they entail. Legally, crime is defined as a violation of a law in which there is injuring to the public or a member of the public and a term in jail or prison, and or a fine, as possible penalty.

          Clinard (1968) observe that city living does not of course directly result in criminal behaviours but many of the conditions associated with the urban life are to a preponderant degree, conducive to criminal activities. Although this research links urbanization with crime, the researcher does not mean to suggest that criminal activities exist only in urban areas. In urban areas, there is high rate of criminal activities compared to that of rural areas. As Szabo (1978) points out, in rural areas, people live further apart but are often tightly integrated into a common network. They know one another, and this helps to control or at least curtail some forms of criminal activities than their urban counterpart.

          Crime is somewhat an all pervasive phenomenon. Some criminologists like Surtherland (1939) and Lumbroso (1876) relate it to various dimensions which ranges from class to class struggle, to education, religion, ethnicity, geographic, demographic and biological characteristics such as age and sex. All societies have rules which if violated breed some disapproval, vexation or indignation. And where there are rules there is bound to be deviation which may some times end up in criminal activity.

          Crime may be to the good or to the detriment of a society. Society may find it functional or dysfunctional. On the functional aspect, crime reinforces the norms of the society, and in some ways create solidarity among members of the society, as criminals often unite because of the common interest of feelings they have. On the dysfunctional aspects, crime brings about a waste of resources both human and material. It could also enhance the rate of inflation and also create an atmosphere of suspicion and anxiety.

          Crime should be seen as a necessary condition for all social life and sometimes a prelude to social reforms which might be necessary for the survival of the society. Thus, criminality should not be viewed as only constituting a bundle of nuisance, unwanted or unreasonable acts in a society, but also as an integral part of a society. It is an inevitable consequence of social complexity. Infact, crime is one of the prices a society pays for individual and for freedom.

          Durkheim (1959) also opined that crimes is a natural and inevitable incidence of social evolution, and that some individual freedom must be encouraged for the continuation of progress. But when this freedom is abused (as in some cases), crime then emerges. And therefore, it is more or less a ginger to progress and advancement. Hence, crime should not merely be conceived of as the character of the meager few who commit it, but rather a reflection of the totality of the entire society.

          Bates and Julian (1975) identify crime as being a bye product of culture, social organization and personal characteristics. This more or less indicates the fact that crime is culturally determined. However, Richard Quinney (1980) sees crime as having entered our imagination in one way or the other in all our lives, and that we have grown up in a world of crime. Therefore, our understanding of crime is in juxtaposition with the beginning or of understanding of ourselves. Some people see crime trend as a political concept. This according to Richard is due to the fact that it is used to justify or instigate a multitude of political and socio-economic interests. The police, for instance could use high crime trend to justify the need for more personnel and equipment. This is somewhat a critical view point.

          President Lyndon B. Johnson of Unite State in 1966, supported war of any kind against crime. Similar contributions on war against crime have also been witnessed in Nigeria, as in cases against drug trafficking and clandestine associations in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, for example, during the 24th convocation of the University of Nigeria, on the 6th April, 1991, President Ibrahim Babaginda of Nigeria was quoted as promising stringent penalties on those that would be identified as being involved in clandestine activities. He also advice students to desist from such activities. This statement is applicable to students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria and also to residents of Uyo where the University of Uyo, Uyo situates.

          Trending of crime in Uyo ranges from Theft of car, Theft of mobile phone, Kidnapping and attempted kidnapping, attempted murder, Murder, Rape, Attempted rape, Physical assault, Armed Violence Robbery e.t.c.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Uyo is in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria and by virtue of being a part of the country which is developing, it is affected by most of those attributes that ensures Nigeria’s position as an under-developed nation. These variable include, low level of education, poor technological know-how, low level of per-capital income, ill-health, mal-nutrition and poverty, highly skewed income distribution, high rate of population growth and dependency burden which ultimately brings about a high and rising level of unemployment. All these variables have the resultant effect of high rate of criminal activities (Ottong 1997). According to Una (2007), armed robbers and other unscrupulous elements make life unbearable and insecure for the residents of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

          The growth of urban areas in Akwa Ibom State specifically Uyo is a gradual process which affects the entire people of Uyo urban, the trend that goes with this growth has been a rise in heterogeneous population, environmental pollution, poor urban houses (that is the slum areas) over utilization of available resources and Traffic congestion. In this study, the researcher is concentrating on crime which is very rampant in the study area.

          The study is geared towards finding the relationship of urban growth and crime. The researcher also intends to take on different types of crime and investigate how they are related to urban growth.

The following questions therefore, will drive the research:

i.        Is urban migration influencing crime?

ii.       What are the major causes of crime?

iii.      What is the trend of crime in Uyo?

iv.      What are the solutions to these problems?

1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to examine the impact/effect of urbanization on crime.

Other Objectives Include:

1.           To examine the trend of crime in Uyo Urban.

2.           Identify causes of crime in Uyo Urban.

3.           To suggest ways of curbing crime in Uyo Urban.

1.4   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study aimed at contributing to the understanding of the alarming occurrence of crime particularly in Uyo urban and the country in general. Both individuals and governments have become targets of criminals. Based on this, the research work is undertaken to provide information that will be of help to individuals, government (s) and communities on how to curb crimes, especially in Uyo Urban.

          To this end, the result of this research is intended to provide the basis for reducing crime wave within the metropolise. This will in effect make Uyo urban peaceful and conducive for dwelling. It may also guarantee the safety of life and property within the metropolise in particular and the Nation in general.

1.5   HYPOTHESIS

          This research was guided on the following hypotheses:

i.        H­0:    There is no significant relationship between crime rate in Uyo Urban and unemployment rate.                       

ii.       H0:    There is no significant relationship between              urbanization (in 2003-2013) and Rape.

1.6   DEFINITION OF MAJOR TERMS

The following concepts were used in the research work:

(i)           Crime: According to Haralambos (1980) crime are those acts which do not follow the norms and expectations of a particular social group.

(ii)          Crime Trend: A recognizable general tendency regarding recurring patterns of crime which is revealed over a period of time. A trend may involve any one of the crime pattern factor or any combination of the factor. (Edem 2010).

(iii)        Criminal Statistic: This is a uniform data of offence and offender expressed in numerical terms (Opeoluwa 1997).

(iv)        Urbanization: This is the progressive movement of people from rural areas to cities, resulting in urban growth and shift in a relative proportion of rural versus urban population (Martha, 1995).

(v)          City: Louis Wirth (1938) defines the city as a “relatively large, dense, permanent settlement of socially heterogeneous population”. In this work, city, urban society, urban centres would be used interchangeably.


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