Location, location, location: The settling of organised crime in Bedfordview
Keywords:organised crime, Krejcir, Bedfordview, Johannesburg, Urban, Urban Geography
Why do ‘crime bosses’ settle in one place and not another? It is an intriguing and under researched question on which little has been written. In South Africa a cluster of individuals associated with organised crime moved into, or were associated with, a particular suburb: Bedfordview, south-east of Johannesburg. The most notorious was Radovan Krejcir, but he himself plugged into an established network of individuals with links to the underworld. This article, based on interviews with people close to high level crime figures or in political or civic leadership roles in Bedfordview, explores why this neighbourhood in particular was chosen. Our analysis suggests that a range of factors coalesced to make Bedfordview, an upper class predominantly white neighbourhood, attractive to organised crime figures. These include a combination of pull factors linked to geography, lifestyle, ethnic and infrastructural reasons that combined in a way that was unique in Johannesburg. Significantly, these were linked with a set of push factors that reflect changes in wider urban development and the upward (and geographic) mobility of a set of ‘businessmen' linked to grey or illegal markets in the city.
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