Impact of street robberies put in the spotlight

Impact of street robberies put in the spotlight

A thief grabs a woman's bag.

Untreated trauma could result in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, aggression and dissociative identity disorder.

While the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has suggested that street robberies would increase if it continued to be overshadowed by other crimes, a psychologist has warned of the implications that it will have on an individual’s mental health.

The ISS recently revealed that street robberies affected far more people than any other robberies.

Researchers Lizette Lancaster and Stuart Mbanyele said in their report that there were an average of 220 street robberies a day between 2018 and 2019 and that criminals “selection is often based on the availability of vulnerable targets and quick escape routes”.

They added that despite the seriousness of street robberies, most go unreported.

Psychologist Vanessa Barnes said while the prevalence of crime led to people becoming desensitised to the trauma that resulted from the experience, untreated trauma could result in post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, aggression and dissociative identity disorder.

She said that statistics revealed that up to 25% of people could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and its associated disorders.

It is estimated that of this assessed figure of six million people, 58% of these cases are a result of witnessing or experiencing crime.

Only 27% of South Africans reporting severe mental illness receive treatment. This is not only as a result of people not recognising their trauma or not wanting to seek help, but also as a result of a lack of access to mental healthcare services.

Barnes said if people experienced any form of trauma, it was important that they seek professional help.

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