Economy weakened by ongoing crime
It is the most normal thing to do – a story breaks, journalists go to the scene to cover it. The last thing on anyone’s mind is whether the team sent out will actually make it out of the situation unscathed. The events of Wednesday – when a reporter and photographer from The Herald were victims of a robbery by three knife-wielding men in New Brighton – were a stark reminder yet again of the abnormality under which we live as a city and as a nation. Ironically, the pair had gone out to cover the story of an elderly woman who was brutally beaten in her New Brighton home in broad daylight, in a senseless crime that again demonstrates the worst of our city.
As a newspaper, we have lost count of how many times our teams have been robbed or hijacked while on assignment in different parts of this city this year alone. Of course these attacks are not unique to us. Scores of employees from various companies in our city have been on the receiving end of such criminality, at times with fatal consequences.
Be it those delivering goods, building infrastructure or fixing pipelines, workers who go out to earn an honest living are too often at the mercy of savage thugs constantly on the prowl for their next victim.
This newspaper has reported, time and again, how municipal staff, for example, including their security personnel, have often been attacked, when responding to call-outs in certain parts of town.
The impact of this on these individuals, their wellbeing and their families is enormous.
On a broader scale, the impact on the companies and entities involved is extensive.
As it is, ours is a city with an economy that battles to create meaningful, sustainable jobs.
Many companies are barely keeping afloat and the added costs brought by effects of such lawlessness may just be the final nail in the coffin.
It is perhaps time for local businesses to have a meaningful conversation that seeks to find effective strategies against crime beyond conventional policing methods.
Our economy depends on it.