Stay alert, warn cops ahead of festive season crime spike
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.