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
“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
“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.
Criminals often place pressure on domestic workers and gardeners to reveal information about their places of work
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
“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.