Se­cu­rity tips and crime up­date at CPF meet­ing

Talk of the Town - - News - JON HOUZET

RES­I­DENTS re­ceived tips about se­cu­rity and up­dates on crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity at the pub­lic open meet­ing held by the Port Al­fred Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Fo­rum at the Port Al­fred Ski-boat Club last Thurs­day.

Sergeant Sindy Pien­aar of SAPS re­lated that many crimes were op­por­tunis­tic, with bur­glars seek­ing the eas­i­est means of en­try.

She warned res­i­dents against leav­ing bath­room win­dows open at night, as they pro­vide a means of en­try, and to take ex­tra pre­cau­tions of se­cur­ing slid­ing doors with ex­tra locks.

She also warned against giv­ing crim­i­nals an in­di­ca­tion about your pos­ses­sions.

“When you buy a new TV and leave the empty box out­side on a Mon­day – crim­i­nals no­tice that,” she said.

Pien­aar en­cour­aged res­i­dents to re­port all at­tempted break-ins, not only suc­cess­ful break-ins, as it helped in keep­ing track of crime and with po­lice re­sponse.

She also urged vic­tims of bur­glar­ies not to clean up the scene of the crime be­fore foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors had done their work, or vi­tal ev­i­dence could be de­stroyed.

Among re­cur­ring crimes, Pien­aar said fraud was a prob­lem, giv­ing the ex­am­ple of a crim­i­nal re­quest­ing pay­ments you have al­ready made.

Clin­ton Mil­lard of Mul­tiSe­cu­rity spoke about busi­ness bur­glar­ies and res­i­den­tial bur­glar­ies.

He said some busi­ness break-ins were op­por­tunis­tic and oth­ers seemed to be the work of syn­di­cates. The op­por­tunists tend to break in in the early evening and crawl be­hind ob­jects and un­der the alarm beams.

“Syn­di­cates know every as­pect of your busi­ness – they know where the beams are, they cut wires, they get to the safe and cut it open,” he said.

He urged busi­nesses to “max­imise your se­cu­rity ex­po­sure” with ad­di­tional tech­nol­ogy.

As for res­i­den­tial break-ins, Mil­lard said: “There was a time when hol­i­day homes weren’t be­ing tar­geted – now they are. They tar­get TVs – they can be in and out in a few min­utes.”

He men­tioned Mul­tiSe­cu­rity’s new pocket app. “As long as you’ve got your phone on you, that’s your panic but­ton,” he said.

He said new CCTV cam­eras mon­i­tor­ing streets and sec­tors look dead un­til they pick up move­ment, and then send a sig­nal via Wi-Fi. Th­ese are in­tended to re­place con­stant hu­man mon­i­tor­ing of cam­eras, which can be tir­ing, Mil­lard said.

They also phase out the need for a guard to con­stantly pa­trol around a build­ing.

“The cam­eras are anti-tam­per. You can hit them with a ham­mer and they won’t break,” he said.

“All this al­lows us to fol­low the stream of crime, to pre­vent crime and give more power to se­cu­rity and the po­lice.”

He said the “big­gest crim­i­nal” re­main false alarms, as they waste time and valu­able re­sources.

For­mer po­lice­man Llewellyn Moss of Sky Se­cu­rity said Sky had not been com­pil­ing in­ci­dents, but they would in fu­ture.

He warned that crim­i­nals of­ten placed pres­sure on do­mes­tic work­ers and gar­den­ers to re­veal in­for­ma­tion about their places of work.

“Don’t be­lieve it won’t hap­pen to your staff. We’ve got to be crim­i­nally-minded to pre­vent crime,” he said.

“For­tu­nately there’s not a lot of vi­o­lence in most crime, but if a crim­i­nal is cor­nered he may re­sort to vi­o­lence.”

Mike Hosty spoke about set­ting up neigh­bour­hood watches, giv­ing the ex­am­ple of the one he is in­volved with in Sports Road and Dove Lane.

He said the hu­man fac­tor was sig­nif­i­cant in com­bat­ting crime. They set up a What­sapp group to keep in con­tact and had the in­volve­ment of about 50% of the res­i­dents in the two streets.

“If there’s more than one pair of eyes on a prop­erty we cul­ti­vate com­mu­nity,” he said.

Rob Crothall, a mem­ber of the Ward 10 war room, spoke about the re­cent protests over hous­ing that turned vi­o­lent.

“They erode the rule of law,” he said. “Peo­ple get away with it and so they think they can do it all the time.”

He men­tioned how com­muters had been af­fected by the road clo­sures, and par­tic­u­larly the pineap­ple farm­ers had been af­fected.

“We may think, why don’t the po­lice just break up the protest with a Casspir and a wa­ter can­non? But some­thing called Marikana hap­pened that changed the way po­lice deal with protests. Their hands are tied,” Crothall said.

He said rather than blam­ing the po­lice, res­i­dents should work with the po­lice, which is one of the things the war room com­mit­tee is try­ing to do.

“If you have been af­fected by vi­o­lent protest, re­port it, and once a docket has been opened, fol­low up with the prose­cu­tor,” he said.

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