High walls may help criminals: Joburg mayor

2015-06-25 08:24
Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

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Johannesburg - The notion of building high walls to protect ourselves from criminals sometimes works against us because our neighbours end up not knowing when we are in actual danger, Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau says.

"Sometimes the things we do that are intended to secure us cause greater harm because we build high walls that enclose people from their neighbours, so people are unable to see through the rest of the suburb and that impacts on the suburb," Tau told News24.

A community-based crime prevention unit comprising of residents, local councillors and police officials in those areas would go a long way to curb the rate of crime in the city, but other factors also needed to be considered, the mayor said.

"Firstly it's about crime prevention with community-based policing, the second is about crime prevention through environmental upgrades and this...also has to do with public lighting and maintenance of parks.

"The last is about how we can optimally employ smart technologies to be able to improve public safety."

Smart technology

Tau said CCTV cameras calibrated to identify potential crime hotspots and criminals - through facial recognition technology, as well as potential criminal behaviour - had already been rolled out in the Johannesburg CBD and would be expanded to Braamfontein soon.

"We started by replacing the old CCTV cameras that were covering the CBD so that it's not just a static CCTV camera but it has all the calibration of smart technologies."

An integrated operations centre for the smart technologies was being established, Tau said.

On Saturday, 29 people including 17 children were attacked by three robbers during a braai at a house in Linden.

The homeowner, Hans Somens, had CCTV footage of the robbers entering his home and this was quickly circulated.

According to Netwerk24, the robbers slipped into the yard when the gate was closing after some guests had arrived.

The men allegedly held up the guests in the driveway, while those in the house were oblivious to what was happening outside.

Opportunistic crime

One of the men then entered a room where the children were playing and forced them all to lie down.

The robbers made off with laptops, cellphones and jewellery.

Somsen told Eyewitness News that the gang had been spotted in the neighbourhood hours before the attack.

The Linden Community Policing Forum's chairperson Jadd Harding described the robbery to the broadcaster as an opportunistic crime.

"They saw the gate open and they went in. They weren't worried about how many people were there," he reportedly said.

The robbers are still at large.

Read more on:    parks tau  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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