As most South Africans go on leave, most criminals take advantage of the often ‘relaxed and generous-mode’ most people are in during this season.
The Kempton Park, Sebenza and Norkem Park police stations have warned citizens to always be alert and take precaution and avoid falling victim to crime during the festive season.
According to police, the following crimes often spike during the festive season:
House break-in is the most common crime in all the areas as people leave their homes and go on vacation and visit family and friends.
“We advise community members to try and get someone to take care of their home while they are on holiday,” said Sgt Johanna Madiga, spokesperson for Norkem Park SAPS.
“Try and ask a neighbour or a family member living nearby to watch over your house while you are away for a few days. They must remove post, take out the dustbin, open and close windows and as these are some of the indicators that the house is unattended, which often makes it a target.”
It could also help to ensure that you arm your house before hitting the road.
“We also experience a lot of armed and street robberies. People should try and avoid walking alone as they often become targets for these crimes; criminals can easily ambush you and grab your bag and/or cellphone,” explained Madiga.
Sgt Sharon Tsotsotso, spokesperson for Sebenza SAPS, also said armed robberies increase in their policing precinct.
“House robberies are also a course for concern because although some people are home, they are not as alert. Always take safety precautions and lock the house, be vigilant of and report any suspicious-looking people and vehicles,” said Tsotsotso.
“Hijackings are another crime that goes up. Look out for vehicles that could be following you and if you suspect that you are being followed, don’t go straight to your house and rather go to a place of safety like a police station.
“Never carry large amounts of cash on you and be alert at malls because that is where most people get followed from. Be sure to always have the police and/or sector vehicle contact details which makes it easy to report suspicious activities.”
Most companies also go on shutdown during this season and therefore business break-ins become increasingly high.
“Although some businesses don’t close for the festive season, we also notice that business robberies increase as the cities become dry with less customers who are often on vacation,” said Sgt Dipuo Ditshego, deputy spokesperson for Kempton Park SAPS.
“Criminals often use this time to rob employees who are mostly alone and few. Bank following remains a problem as people continue to withdraw large amounts of cash. We advise against the withdrawal of huge amounts and encourage people to rather transfer money.
“Please note that most, if not all, bank followers are armed and once they notice you have large amounts of money on you, they will follow you for whatever distance just to rob you.”
Community members are advised to be vigilant at all times.
All the representatives of the various police stations stated that there will be police visibility and patrols throughout the entire season to ensure the community is safe.