CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 6, 2023

Kacholola et al. on Property Crimes and Vagabond Laws

Dumbo KachololaElias Peter Mwakilama, and Sunduzwayo Madise (Eastern Region Police Headquarters, University of Malawi - School of Natural & Applied Sciences and University of Malawi - School of Law, Economics & Governance) have posted Should Rogue and Vagabond in Malawi's Penal Code Remain Invalid? Property Crime Analysis in a Small Southern City on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In spite of invalidating rogue and vagabond offenses from Malawi’s penal code, little is known from scholarly research to validate the decision. We investigated the impact of invalidating rogue and vagabond offenses on the residents of Zomba City in southern Malawi. A mixed-research method was employed. Retrospectively, the 2014-2021 Zomba Police Station (ZPS) property crime (PC) data was used for describing the trends of PCs and measuring the degree of differences of registered PC cases before and after the invalidation of the law. Supplemented with qualitative interviews, a one-way ANOVA model was employed to compare means of annually registered crime frequencies, separating the means using the Least Significant Difference (LSD) technique. Despite data showing general significant differences (p<0.01) in crimes registered between 2014 and 2021, there is no evidence to suggest significant changes (p>0.05) both prior to (2014-16) and after (2018-21) the abolition of the law. However, there was an increase in reported cases of burglary and theft in 2017-18 and then in 2020-2021. Types and frequencies of registered crime cases are highly correlated (p < 0.01) with the month of occurrence. Despite the invalidation of the law negatively affecting midnight law enforcers’ operations, sex workers reported abuse of the law by some quarter of police officers demanding free sex. Current findings suggest that the 2018 rise in burglary cases was an immediate consequence of law abolishment before the law enforcers could find alternative measures, while the latter is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic that created crime opportunities. Thus, if properly managed, the law of rogue and vagabond has a great potential to protect lives, reduce crimes, and recover stolen property, thereby bringing order and sanity to society. The law should be revisited on a good cause, but with refresher courses for law enforcers and civic education for the public.

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