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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Silly season – Christmas creeps closer and crime continues to increase

Criminologist Professor Jaco Barkhuizen warned residents to be vigilant this festive season.


Experts caution residents to be vigilant of optimistic criminals as Christmas creeps closer and crime continues to increase.

According to the Crime Statistics for the third quarter of 2021-22 (October to December), 10 524 cases of common robbery were recorded.

South Africans leaving the country due to crime

Annie Pretorius from Pretoria East said she was grateful to have survived an attempted hijacking last week.

“Two guys tried to hijack me. The one approached my window smiling and talking and before I could even process what was going on, the other tried to break my passenger window. Thankfully I have smash and grab,” she said.

Pretorius said without thinking she put her foot down flat on the accelerated pedal to get back onto the road.

“I almost knocked a lady walking over. The car nicked her and she fell. I looked back and saw her get up. I can’t stop thinking what would have happened if I ran her over or killed her,” she said.

Pretorius said she couldn’t wait to immigrate.

“We’re leaving for Australia in May, and it couldn’t come any sooner. We are leaving for the safety and future opportunities for our kids,” she said.

Pretorius said armed robbers also entered their house earlier this year.

“We are making the sacrifices and taking the risk and sadly leaving our parents and siblings behind so that our two boys don’t have to. I don’t want them to have to make such drastic decisions when they feel they have hit a dead end in this country.”

Pretorius said leaving for Australia was an exciting adventure but added it was a terrible reality to leave behind the only place they have ever known.

“A place we love. A place where everyone we love live. A place of beauty and culture and warmth. A place that we will forever call home. It breaks our hearts but, as a family, we have no other choice.”

Tis the season for thieves

Action Society’s Ian Cameron said crime was certainly on the increase as the silly season has commenced.

“The annual trend is already in full swing and we expect it to possibly be far higher than previous years as crime detection and criminal conviction rates are at an all-time low,” he said.

Criminologist Professor Jaco Barkhuizen warned residents to be vigilant this festive season.

ALSO READ: Festive season crime prevention: Spotlight on GBV, robberies, border control

“Do not carry a lot of cash with you. Most businesses take cards or EFT. Do not draw a lot of cash from an ATM. When you drive, be aware of your surroundings and keep your handbags, valuables and electronics out of sight.”

Barkhuizen said it was wise to have big items or products delivered to your house because it was insured until they reached your property.

He also advised residents not to drink excessively during the festive season, adding it made them an easy target.

“It’s lack of vigilance that allowed criminals to strike,” he said. – marizkac@citizen.co.za

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