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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist

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

Police have identified six focus areas and will intensify safety measures ahead of the festive season.

National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola updated the public on the measures put in place to address crime ahead of and during the festive season.

He said the South African Police Service (Saps) “deployed maximum resources for the December festive period, with teams focusing on “six priority areas”.

Festive season crime-fighting

Masemola said officials will intensify the fight against crime over the coming weeks, striving “to increase police visibility” throughout South Africa.

He said the safety of residents and tourists will be top of mind during the festive season, and no resources were spared.

Operations are already in full swing and include foot, vehicle and air-support patrols, stop and searches, arrests, vehicle checkpoints and roadblocks.

Six focus areas

The main focus will be on the six areas identified by National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints).

1. Gender-Based Violence and Femicide

Masemola said the task teams will intensify the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) over the coming weeks as they will continue to trace wanted suspects.

He said Saps is committed “to ensuring the safety of women, children and vulnerable groups, not only during this 16 days period but throughout the year”.

Officers will have their work cut out for them.

As per the crime stats released in November 2022, 13 701 women were victims of assault over a period of three months (compared to 11 824 during the same period last year).

Meanwhile, 989 women were murdered (897 during the previous reporting period), and 1 277 were victims of attempted murder (1 155 reported during the previous period).

2. Aggravated robberies

Masemola said their second focus area is to combat aggravated robberies.

These include:

Masemola warned South Africans against flaunting cash and goods when doing Christmas shopping.

He explained: “This period is characterised by an abundance of cash and an influx of people at shopping centres and malls. This is also a period when criminals pounce on these unsuspecting victims”.

3. Border security

Officials will be intensifying border control measures to “enhance security as we know this is a period when there is an influx of people crossing our borders to enter or exit South Africa”.

He added: “We have been intensifying our search operations at the borders where we are focusing on preventing and combatting human and drug trafficking as well as illegal crossings”.

Abductions and human trafficking have been increasing at an alarming rate this year, and a video of a man stalking women at malls went viral back in September.

ALSO READ: Suspect travelling from Mozambique bust with drugs worth R12m

4. Illegal firearms

Masemola said law enforcement personnel will also address the “proliferation of illegal firearms, second-hand goods and liquor enforcement”.

Taverns, shebeens, nightclubs and other establishments where alcohol is consumed will be subject to compliance inspections.

This is to ensure compliance with relevant legislation including the trading hours, especially the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events (SASREA) Act of 2010.

5. Enforcing by-laws

The police commissioner said police will also enforce by-laws, specifically with regard to:

  • Hijacked buildings
  • Destruction of essential infrastructure
  • Extortion
  • Unlawful sale and use of firecrackers

6. Road safety

Finally, special consideration will also be given to road safety during the December festive season period, and certain measures will be put in place to ensure road safety.

This includes conducting roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints in cooperation with metro police departments, as well as provincial and national traffic police.

Masemola said: “We have been hard at work in consistently developing and reviewing interventions in response to the analysis of crime patterns and emerging crime trends in the country”.

READ MORE HERE: December road safety: Accidents cost SA R188 billion per year – Mbalula

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