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Burglaries worsen

Residential and business burglaries are increasing rapidly in Benoni.

Benoni occupies the second spot in Gauteng and 31 in the entire country as far as these crimes are concerned.

Although police could not be drawn to provide statistics, they nonetheless confirmed that burglaries are out of control.

We asked Benoni police for a comparison of these crimes for July, August and September, last year, with the same period this year, and the results are horrific.

“I won’t give out the figures, but I can confirm that it’s increasingly high,” said Benoni police spokesperson Lieut Nomsa Sekele.

Burglaries lead to house robberies in cases where residents are found on their properties.

Benoni CPF executive chairperson Reza Patel also agreed that the burglary rate is high.

He said areas most affected are Rynfield, Morehill, Northmead, Airfield, Farrarmere, Wesdene, Lakefield, Western Extension and the Benoni CBD with Northmead, Farrarmere and Rynfield topping the list.

Patel added that Impala Park, Crystal Park and Bonaero Park are now also all plagued with crime.

He added that most residents do not, however, open cases, which on its own poses a challenge.

“We need residents to report the crime and to open a case, even if there’s no damage or goods missing,” said Patel.

This, he said, will enable police to charge perpetrators for trespassing so that “we can get them where they belong”.

In an effort to prevent such crime, police have embarked on various crime prevention measures with police Nyalas stationed at different areas within Benoni.

The Benoni cluster commander Brig Vuyokazi Ndebele recently launched an aggressive strategy known as “Base Camp”.

This strategy will see officers from outside the area being roped in to help root out crime.

Sekele added that police also stage regular roadblocks, stop and search, and street patrols as prevention measures.

She urged residents to meet the police halfway.

“We aren’t implying that the public are careless, we are just asking them to do their best in terms of precautionary measures,” she said.

Sekele said some of the things noticed during patrols is that residents leave curtains, gates and windows wide open and, in some instances, house keys hanging on the door.

“We advise residents to lock away their spare vehicle keys, to prevent burglars from stealing their cars as well,” she said.

Also, the involvement of domestic workers and gardeners in such crimes could be aiding the process, providing the perfect times for burglars to hit.

Sekele advised residents to profile their domestic workers and gardeners and to stop employing foreigners as gardeners and domestic workers without identification and work permits.

“Once they steal from the residents it becomes hard to trace them,” she said.

She said those employing such helpers should bring them to the police station for a police clearance.

Sekele also encouraged neighbours to know each other and watch each other’s properties and report any suspicions to the police.

The 2012 crime statistics also showed the increase in burglaries in Benoni with the figure standing at 1 214, compared to 2011’s 944.

The last time Benoni experienced such a high number was in the 2003/2004 financial year, when it reached 1 038.

Etwatwa Extension Three, also known as Quantum, is suffering the same fate.

Police spokesman Const Timothy Masilela said house breaking is on the increase.

“But the SAPS in conjunction with community patrollers are on a mission to eliminate it,” he said.

Last week, they distributed pamphlets containing precautions for community to take before going to sleep.

Amongst the measures to be taken are:

  •  Community should take extra precautions as housebreaking occurs between 8pm and 5am.
  •  Be certain to lock windows and doors including sliding doors.
  •  Eliminate tall shrubs near doors and windows that may allow thieves to be concealed from watchful neighbours.
  •  Keep valuables out of sight if possible, so a snooping strangers can’t see them through the windows.
  •  Report all strangers or suspicious people to the Police
  •  Form a neighbourhood watch.

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