Stay a­lert, warn cops a­he­ad of fes­ti­ve se­a­son cri­me spi­ke

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

GRAAFF-REI­NET — The fes­ti­ve se­a­son is upon us on­ce a­gain.

W­hi­le lo­cal pe­op­le plan for ho­li­days and shop for Chris­t­mas gif­ts, cri­mi­nals work from their own wish lis­ts, tar­ge­ting the pu­blic and bu­si­nes­ses in par­ti­cu­lar.

Ex­ten­ded tra­ding hours cre­a­te gre­a­ter op­por­tu­ni­ty for cri­me spi­kes, w­hi­le tou­ris­ts, fu­el re­tailers and con­ve­nien­ce sto­re o­w­ners be­co­me mo­re ex­po­sed to cashre­la­ted cri­mes.

Ma­ny bu­si­nes­ses ha­ve em­ploy­ed ex­tra se­cu­ri­ty staff to co­pe with cro­w­ded sto­res.

The se­a­so­nal in­cre­a­se in vi­si­tors to Graaff-rei­net is in full swing, with most guest­hou­ses ful­ly book­ed for the ho­li­day pe­ri­od.

Tho­se tra­vel­ling through the towns in our a­rea of­ten ha­ve cars o­ver­flo­wing with lug­ga­ge in full view, and an in­cre­a­se in thefts out of vehi­cles is ex­pected.

Vi­si­tors and lo­cal pe­op­le are re­min­ded not to le­a­ve va­lu­a­bles in their cars - or, if this is in­e­vi­ta­ble, to ma­ke su­re that they are loc­ked a­way out of sig­ht in the boot.

The a­rea a­round the front en­tran­ce to S­hop­ri­te, un­for­tu­na­te­ly, seems to be so­mething of a cri­me “hot spot”, with ma­ny re­por­ted in­stan­ces of mug­gings.

Despi­te ma­ny at­tempts to cle­ar the pa­vements, haw­kers keep co­ming back, and tho­se with cri­mi­nal in­tent of­ten lurk a­mongst the gen­ui­ne tra­ders.

El­der­ly shop­pers are par­ti­cu­lar­ly vul­ne­ra­ble and should ta­ke spe­ci­al ca­re.

Pur­ses and wal­lets should be kept on the per­son, and not temp­tingly in the top of a shop­ping bag or hand­bag.

Car guards are of­ten a pro­blem too, with ma­ny being drunk and ha­ras­sing and in­ti­mi­da­ting mo­to­ris­ts.

A few shops em­ploy their own car guards, but ge­ne­ral­ly, the in­for­mal car guards are mo­re of a nuis­an­ce than a help.

Vi­si­tors are as­ked NOT to pay the­se pe­op­le, as it on­ly en­coura­ges them to per­sist.

Li­ke­wi­se, child­ren who are beg­ging, a practi­ce that is al­so seen in the smal­ler towns.

Wel­fa­re or­ga­ni­sa­ti­ons re­port that mo­ney gi­ven is ra­re­ly u­sed for food, and e­ven food is of­ten sold for mo­ney to buy d­rugs and al­co­hol.

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