WITH the hype that goes with the festive season the public are urged to remain vigilant as crime increases during this time.
Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, Safe City director Lucas Holtzhausen said the most common crimes over the festive season are robberies and theft out of motor vehicles.
“Robberies are very much an opportunistic crime, but caution must be exercised when using an ATM or after withdrawing money from ATMs. Stokvel monies are now been targeted as well as valuables left in vehicles,” he said.
People should not withdraw large sums of money and leave it a vehicle, even if it is concealed, because a number of cases have been reported recently where large amounts of money was allegedly stolen from vehicles.
“During the festive season the public tend to drop their guard as they get into festive mood.
“This is exactly the time when criminals will strike, at home or on the street. Always be aware of what is going on around you, avoid desolated areas such as lanes and vacant fields and building, secure and conceal valuables such as handbags, cellphones and other expensive items either when walking or driving, keep car doors locked and windows closed especially in congested areas and taxi ranks or where the traffic is slow moving,” he said.
Remote jamming is still a big concern for SAPS and Safe City. Holtzhausen confirmed that the Church Street Mall and adjacent lanes are been targeted. Other lanes leading off Church Street towards Retief and East streets are also been targeted.
He urged the public to report any suspicious activity - whether it is people loitering near ATMs, vehicles, in lanes or in residential suburbs.
Vigilance is of the utmost importance.
“If you are going away for the holidays inform your security company and provide contact numbers, arrange with a neighbour, friend or family to feed the dogs, remove newspapers from the post box and to switch lights on or off in your house.
“Even better if you can get a reliable house-sitter,” said Holtzhausen.
Holtzhausen confirmed there have been additional cameras installed in covert places in the city which are not visible thus increasing their scope.
“We tryto focus on all areas where the public reports crime which is why it is important for crime to be reported.
“We will however, focus on Church, Boshoff, Retief, Masukwane, Langalibalele streets as well as the lower Pietermaritz Street area,” he added.
Holtzhausen said that, from a Safe City perspective, there has been a decrease in street robberies which he said can be attributed to the SAPS Rapid Response Team who works with Safe City.
“Safe City will be fully operational during the festive season so please keep us and other law enforcement agencies in your thoughts and prayers,” he said.
>> Be crime conscious and aware of crime opportunities at all times
>> If you are waiting to be collected, avoid waiting outside.
>> Carry your bag in front of you. Do not carry it over your shoulder.
>> Do not keep valuables, like your wallet and car keys, in your back pocket.
>> Avoid dark, deserted areas.
>> If you know or suspect someone is following you walk into the nearest busy area and immediately contact the police.
>> f a vehicle follows you do not try to outrun it. Turn and walk in the opposite direction and react by shouting to get attention.
>>Carry change or a phone card for emergency calls.
>> Hide your cellphone and do not walk around talking on it.
>> Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, laptops and cameras in public areas.
>> Do not encourage begging, especially by people who approach vehicles at intersections.