U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

International Crime (Victim) Survey in Maseru, Lesotho (1998)

NCJ Number
Itumeleng Kimane; Thabo Mosisili; Maile Matlokotsi; Nkhahle Sejanamane; Poelo Rangoako; Keketso Maema; Nthabiseng Molai; Mamello Phomane; Lieketseng Mohlakoana; Mamello Phomane; Lieketseng Mohlakoana; CMB Naude; J.H. Prinsloo; A. Ladikos
Date Published
98 pages
This report discusses the criminal justice system in the Kingdom of Lesotho, a small enclave surrounded by the Republic of South Africa.
After providing a historical overview describing Lesotho as ethnically homogenous and following a presentation of the socio-demographic characteristics of the two million individuals who reside in Lesotho, this report focuses on Lesotho’s criminal justice system arguing that the expansion of police service has been in connection with the growing crime rate. noting that Lesotho operates a judicial structure made up of courts that administer parallel systems of law, the authors describe the 12 prison facilities used in Lesotho, maintaining that imprisonment is overused as a form of punishment. Addressing factors that contribute to crime in Lesotho, the authors describe social mobility and weakening social control mechanisms, gender and crime issues, the relationship between social inequality and crime, the absence of a national strategy for crime prevention and control, the connections between age and crime, and the interplay between the political environment and crime. After describing the International Crime Victim Survey, begun in 1989 by the Ministry of Justice of the Netherlands and extended to Lesotho, the authors suggest that the ideological violence that erupted in 1998 made the administering of this survey challenging. Interviews and questionnaires were administered to individual households focusing on the occurrence and range of patterns of crime against individuals in households in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. Following a presentation of the demographic characteristics of the 1,010 individuals described in this research, the authors discuss 5 and 1 year crime victimization rates in Lesotho. Addressing theft of vehicles, vandalism, theft of livestock, burglary, sexual offenses, assaults, car hijacking, consumer fraud, and corruption, the authors found that the crimes most frequently committed in victims’ homes were sexual offenses, and the crimes committed near victims’ homes were most often thefts of vehicles. After discussing the types of crimes reported to the police and the reasons for not reporting crime, this report notes that more than one-third of the research group reported satisfaction with the police. The authors indicate that crime prevention measures are a luxury in Lesotho and that prison sentences seem unnecessarily long and harsh in this region. An extensive series of appendices presenting survey results completes this report. Bibliography