Crime in Gauteng is a business - Petros
Johannesburg - Most crimes in Gauteng are committed by intelligent, affluent people, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros said on Friday.
"Crooks in Gauteng don't wear jeans, they wear shirts and ties. They have beautiful clothes and cars and live in places like Bryanston and Hyde Park," he said.
Petros was speaking at the Consumer Goods Council of SA annual conference in Johannesburg.
He said most large-scale robberies were conducted through a system of organised planning.
"Look at something like bank robberies. You can't just go into a bank and rob it. You need to plan. These people are clever and our intelligence units are going to have to be ahead of them."
He said consumer bodies and businesses were directly affected by the levels of crime in the province.
"The rate of truck hijackings has decreased by 30%. This affects you because most of these trucks are transporting goods," Petros said.
"The most important thing we need to find a solution to is ATM bombings because if people are scared to go to the ATMs, then they won't have money to buy things from your businesses."
He said police had stepped up security in shopping centres from September ahead of the "festive season".
"People ask: 'Why September?' but by November it is already too late," he said.
"Crime in Gauteng is a business, they [criminals] also want to close on the 15th of December and go back to their own countries and provinces. They will then come back on the sixth of January to operate again, so we need to be ready beforehand."
Petros said corruption was the biggest obstacle in overcoming crime in the province.
"In all the crime that you hear about, the hand of law enforcement is always involved. If there is a robbery, there were police involved," he said.
"If there is a hijacking, there were police involved. If there is something about the Chinese mafia, the police are there. Something must be done."
He said the corporate image of police and detectives had to change.
"If someone knocks on your door and tries to rob you, trust that the detectives who knock on your door will do their best to try and help you," he said.
"We want you in this room to know we will intensify our work. Instead of five metre walls [in homes and businesses], we want to reduce it to two metre walls. One day we will make it safe so that there are no walls at all."