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SURVEY OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF ROLE AND ACCEPTANCE OF VIGILANTE SERVICE GROUPS AS AGENTS OF CRIME CONTROL IN ANAMBRA STATE, SOUTHEAST NIGERIA
This research work investigated the roles, public acceptance and perceived shortcomings of Vigilante service groups in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria. The study adopted cross-sectional survey design and was anchored on broken window theory (BWT) and structural strain theoretical platforms. A total of 600 study participants drawn through a combination of multi-stage and simple random sampling techniques responded to the quantitative tool (questionnaire). Data was also generated through qualitative tools. These were through four sessions of in-depth interview (IDI), and another four sessions of focus group discussions (FGD) with male and female gender at both urban and rural parts of the state. The study found that residents of the state saw the role of vigilante service groups in their area as that of partnering with the police in safeguarding life and property. It was also found that vigilante service groups were well accepted in the area. However, a major shortcoming of vigilante service groups which the study revealed is that they engage in unlawful arrest and detention of citizens. It was recommended among other things that members of the vigilante group be regularly trained and re-trained to make them knowledgeable and committed to their responsibilities without abusing privileges or infringing on the rights of citizen.
Keywords: Acceptance, Vigilante service groups, Crime control, police, informal policing structure