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Gated Neighbourhoods and privatisation of urban security in Ibadan Metropolis

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Oluseyi Fabiyi

Chapter 6. Crime and security issues in the neighbourhood

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1Crime is spatially and temporally related. The nature and types of crime are also spatially associated. More than 68.0 % of the respondents have witnessed crime in their neighbourhoods while 31.7 % have not witnessed crime in their neighbourhoods. About 47.3 % of the neighbourhoods have witnessed violent crime before the association were formed and the most frequent crime witnessed include armed robbery and burglary, 18.5 % and 26.9 % respectively. Only 16.7 % claimed that such crime were occurring frequently before the neighbourhood association were formed while 32.4 % estimated that the crime rate was rather occasional before the formation of the association. The neighbourhood experiences crime mainly at night (47.2 %), only 7.4 % have experience crime in the neighbourhood during the day. Some 45.4 % experienced crime both at night as well as during the day before the creation of the association.

2It was observed that there is a reduction in the number of neighbourhood association experiencing crime after the associations were formed while 25.9 % still experience crime in the neighbourhood after the formation of the association. Over 74.4 % agreed that crime rate has reduced significantly after the formation of the association.

3The types of crimes occurring after the establishment of neighbourhood association is essentially burglary and petty crime. It is likely that such may be perpetrated by criminals within or short distance to the neighbourhood. The crimes still occur mainly at night 22.9 % and only few during the day, 3.7 %.

4In Nigeria, the general pattern is that highway crime and crime within commercial Centres occur during the day while night crimes are most frequent at night. It reflects that crime occurs where there are people and things to steal since most crimes in Nigeria are property related and usually violent the criminals often require the assistance of owners to convey or remove security devices on property in order to go away with their loot. It is rather convenient for criminals to snatch a car at gun point than to break locks and security devices of parked vehicles.

5The association or members usually report crime to the police 47.2 % most of the time for mere formality and record purposes while only 27.8 % reports with the intention of securing proper investigation of the crime.

Frequency of crime in the neighbourhood

6The frequency of crime in the neighbourhood was observed for all the areas under investigation and it was observed that 27 % have regular occurrence of crime in their neighbourhood of about once in a month while 64 percent have irregular experiences of crime in the neighbourhood. About 40 % claim crime has never occurred in their neighbourhood.

7It was however observed that crime rate is highest in the low density (high class) neighbourhoods, about 47 % having regular experience while only 17 % have such regular experience in the medium density neighbourhoods. High density area has 20.7 % regular experience of crime. It is obvious that the low-density areas have high risks for crime than other neighbourhoods in the city.

8This however runs contrary to the established norms where crime is more rampant in the high density. It is likely that perception and definition of crimes differ by neighborhood. The frequency of crime in the neighbourhood has a direct implication on the reason for erecting gates in the neighbourhood. The officials of landlord/resident association were interviewed on the reason for forming landlord/resident associations. It was observed that about 35 % of the association exist mainly for security reasons while 33 % exist both for security and developmental programmes of the neighbourhood. In essence, about 69 % of the associations were formed for security purposes in the low density areas. On the other hand, only 11 % of the associations in the medium density are formed essentially for security reason, there are more consideration for other developmental projects than what obtains in the low density areas. In the high-density areas, there is also high concern for security issues as over 47.1. % of the associations were formed to consider security issues. It is deductible that the criminals reside in the high-density areas and their target areas of operation are the low-density neighbourhoods. The level of risk for crime activity is high in the high and low density areas that is the poor and the rich areas.

9The chi-square test on crime experience by neighbourhood status shows a very high correlation of the value 1.266 at 0.737 significant. This shows a high correlation between neighbourhood status and crime experience.

Types of crime

10The frequency of crime notwithstanding, the nature of crime is also a major factor in determining the response of neighbourhood residents’ associations. It was observed that property robbery is the most dominant types of crimes about 44 %, which is followed by property robbery with violence 16 %, murder case is the lowest with about 2 %.

11It was observed however that though robbery is common in both the rich and poor areas, robbery with violence is highest in the rich areas while the property robbery with violence in the poor areas is 4.9 % It is 8.2 % in the rich neighbourhoods. Only the rich areas have experience of murder in the study area.

Security measures

12The increased crime rate has also propelled the neighbourhoods to evolve series of measures to control crime in the neighbourhood. The study reveals that the respondents in the study area adopted various methods. There are only few places where a single method is adopted while about 14.5 % use night watchmen, about 16.4 % use a combination of the night watchmen and street gates. As observed earlier, the emphasis of gate erection is the accessibility of vehicles since most neighbourhoods use a combination of night watchmen or vigilante group. The night watchmen are locally untrained security personnel who are recruited not necessarily from the neighbourhood, while the vigilante groups are essentially volunteers who are mostly youths from the neighbourhood. The youths are paid allowances to buy ammunition and some other confectioneries that relate to their assignments. The cross tabulation of data however shows that the rich areas do not have night watchmen or vigilante groups rather trained guards and temporary or permanently closed gates are adopted to prevent crime.

13The respondents were further asked of the types of security personnel recruited in the cases where such measure is used. All the neighbourhood associations recruit security personnel to police their neighbourhoods, though not all of them erect gate. It confirms the fact that most of the neighbourhoods are formed essentially for security issues. About 72.2 % of the neighbourhood associations have about five security personnel in their neighbourhood while 25.8 % have more than five security personnel in their neighbourhood.

14The emphases of the security consideration in the neighbourhood is night watch, 97.2 % while about 3.5 % patrol the neighbourhood both day and night. The concern for security is more critical at night in all the neighbourhoods, therefore most of the security personnel are recruited to watch at night.

15It was observed that local guards are heavily patronised 93.5 % in all the neighbourhoods while corporate guards are used only by 2.0 %. Oodua Peoples’ Congress(OPC) accounts for 1.5 %. It was however observed that at the time of the field work, there was a clamp down on the OPC by the Nigerian police, therefore the neighbourhood associations were sceptical in providing information on OPC. Most of the security personnel listed as the local guards are actually Oodua Peoples’ Congress(OPC) members. The pilot study earlier carried out in the study areas shows that local guards that are registered with the police are the most patronised security personnel in the poor areas,(34 %). While only 9.75 % patronised corporate guards, about 20.7 % patronise the local ethnic militia popularly called Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) who are reputed to use charms to fight criminals. The marked difference between the results could be a result of the ban on OPC or their area of operation may be localised to where the earlier pilot study was carried out.

16It was also observed that the vigilante system where young men in the neighbourhood police their environment at night is gradually no longer in existence in Ibadan metropolis. This is explained by the fact that such a team of security units are not adequately armed to counter usually heavily armed robbers and the rapid national economic development often requires that residents work late and thus a very active workman during the day cannot stay awake all night to watch. Only 2.8 % of neighbourhoods still use vigilante group.

17The security personnel are usually monitored by the association executives, 82.4 % in most cases or by security committee within the association executives, 14.8 %. A special levy are usually imposed on residents and landlords for the payment of security personnels,89.8 %, while some neighbourhood associations deduct the salary of security personnel from the monthly check off or monthly due of the members.

18The result however shows that the OPC is patronised only by the middle and low class neighbourhoods. The rich class uses the local guards that are approved by the police and corporate guards. It was observed that the accreditation of the local guards by the police is sponsored by the executives of neighbourhood associations. The association executives take the prospective security personnel to the police to register and confirm whether or not he has criminal records. All the security personnel in the study area are men and none of the neighbourhoods adopt police protection in the study area. This may not be unconnected with the low level of confidence in the police by the residents.

196.4. Payment of security personnel

20While in the cases of voluntary vigilante group there is no payment in form of remuneration it is clear that some form of payment is done in one form or the other. It was observed that about 57 % of the neighbourhood associations pay directly to the security personnel hired while 33 % pay indirectly trough the co-ordinators or the organisation or corporate bodies. The amount paid to the security personnel range from #3,000 naira ($20) per month to #20,000 naira ($134) per month.

21It is noteworthy that the amount paid in the poor areas is generally higher than the amount paid in the rich neighbourhood. The range paid in the rich area is from #3,000 to #8,000 while the high density areas pay an average of #10,000. This can be explained by the fact that the rich class does not depend only on the general neighbourhood security, rather they use private security, tall fences and gates as other measures of security. The poor areas depend essentially on the general security systems and due to the fact that more residents live in the neighbourhood, large sums of money could be raised. The funds to pay the security personnel were usually generated from the levy imposed on members. More than 91 % of the associations adopts levy to pay the security personnel. However the amount varies extensively from one association to another ranging from #10 to #1000 per month per house.

22The rapid assessment of Ibadan metropolis shows that the gated neighbourhoods are locations specific. Generally, 57 % of the associations did not erect gates in their neighbourhoods. However about 43 % of neighbourhoods associations erect and monitor the gates. About 38 % of the neighbourhood erected gates in the last 10 years and are still involved in erecting new ones as need arises while 6 % only manage gates erected between 16-20 years ago. The major reason for constructing gates were security purpose and the control of movement of non members. These two reasons are interrelated. Nigeria is not a segregated community therefore the control of movement is based on suspicion about crime and disorderly behaviour. Most of the gates cost an average of #11,000 while some cost between #10,000-20,000.

23However while the payment of security personnel is based on levy on residents, the money for erecting gates is usually deducted from the association purse 30.6 %. Only 3.7 % of gates were erected based on levy imposed on the members. Gates were often erected by few members of the neighbourhood who has the means and could donate gates to the communities. 41.2 % of the gates are erected from such approaches and other sources.

© IFRA-Nigeria, 2004

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