Weapons, Violence and the Perpetrator-Victim Nexus in South Africa
Given the high levels of crime and violence in South Africa, there may be a temptation for citizens to arm themselves for protection. Using quantitative survey data from the Cape Area Panel Study and qualitative interviews with residents of high-violence neighborhoods, this paper examines the question of who carries weapons outside the home in Cape Town and what the effects of weapon carrying may be. Multiple regression analysis is used to test the significance of possible drivers of weapon carrying and the results are discussed in the South African social context. Weapon carrying is found to be associated with both assault perpetration and victimization, suggesting that it is part of a violent lifestyle in which weapon carriers are likely to use their weapons both offensively and defensively. Possible weapon-related policies for violence reduction are also discussed.
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