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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Experts warn of crime spikes as festive season approaches

'Let’s hope police will start the festive season with increased patrols and awareness programmes to ensure there are more police in the streets.'


Experts are warning of crime spikes as the traditional December high crime season approaches. All South Africans should be concerned as they head to the summer holiday season, said Professor Jaco Barkhuizen, a criminologist at the University of Limpopo. “Crime usually increases during this time because people move around more and their Christmas bonuses are paid. Criminals know this and target people,” he said. “Let’s hope police will start the festive season with increased patrols and awareness programmes to ensure there are more police in the streets in economically busy areas and at intersections where people get hijacked.” ALSO READ:…

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Experts are warning of crime spikes as the traditional December high crime season approaches. All South Africans should be concerned as they head to the summer holiday season, said Professor Jaco Barkhuizen, a criminologist at the University of Limpopo.

“Crime usually increases during this time because people move around more and their Christmas bonuses are paid. Criminals know this and target people,” he said.

“Let’s hope police will start the festive season with increased patrols and awareness programmes to ensure there are more police in the streets in economically busy areas and at intersections where people get hijacked.”

ALSO READ: Gauteng: worst vehicle crime hotspot, followed by KZN

Regarding the latest serious incident, Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said the TMPD was saddened about the death of a constable who was shot and killed in the early hours of Sunday. Mahamba said the off-duty constable was travelling with three other occupants in a private vehicle at the time of the incident.

“They were hijacked in Olievenhoutbosch at around 2am on Sunday. He was declared dead after his body was discovered with a gunshot wound. One of the occupants was wounded and taken to the nearest hospital,” he said.

Local police are investigating a case of murder, attempted murder and hijacking, Mahamba added.

800 cops killed on and off-duty in past decade

The constable was one of about 800 police members killed on and off-duty in the past decade, said Institute for Security Studies (ISS) researcher David Bruce.

“A decade ago, the police acknowledged that off-duty police who intervene in crimes in progress face additional risks,” he said.

Bruce said the 2009 police annual report stated it was because off-duty officers usually do not wear bulletproof vests or have the protection afforded by being in the company of colleagues. He said it made them less vigilant than when they were on duty.

“In the words of Section 205(3) of the constitution, the responsibilities of police members are to protect and secure the inhabitants of the republic and its property. Courage and the willingness to make sacrifices are implied requirements of their jobs that included the willingness to pay the ultimate price, to protect civilians or colleagues threatened with death or other serious injuries,” he said.

Bruce added there were many examples of situations where police intervened, while off duty, that have had positive results. One of the priorities of General Fannie Masemola in his new role as national commissioner should be to put into operation the use of force guidelines issued by the minister of police, Bruce said.

ALSO READ: Gauteng Crime Stats: Everything you need to know

“A major motivation for this should be to provide greater clarity to police about the obligation to take action to address crime when they are off duty,” he said.

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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