Red flags are being raised on a number of different social media channels about a spike in personal security incidents across Gauteng where joggers, walkers and cyclists have been “phone mugged” by opportunistic criminals.
While there is no doubt that opportunistic thieves appear to be targeting people particularly during the 06:00 – 09:00 window, the number of incidents being reported is not tallying with the cases being reported to SAPS, particularly in the Randburg and Sandton areas.
Fidelity ADT remind all residents that a crime stat is only a crime stat once it has been reported to SAPS. “If the social channels are to be believed, it appears that a large number of these phone jackings simply go unreported because of the nature of the crime, a lack of confidence in the system or health concerns around reporting the incident at a police station,” says Steven Bronks, Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT.
Bronks says selective reporting of crime is problematic as it contributes to the dissemination of misinformation around crime, rather than accurate and contextualised information which the SAPS and private security companies can then work on to apprehend suspects.
“No matter how big or small or how insignificant you feel the crime is – report it!” says Bronks. “The more cases reported, the more resources SAPS deploy to address the problem,” he says.
We are concerned that the high level of noise on the social channels is creating a lot of fear in the community. “Everyone needs to remain vigilant but we do caution about syndicating unsubstantiated reports which may create panic,” says Bronks.
Residents must remain vigilant when they are out and about and remember:
- Do not carry valuables unless absolutely necessary
- If you have to walk with a cell phone please keep it hidden.
- Ideally walk in groups of two or more maintaining social distancing guidelines.
- Do not walk alone with head phones which distract from what is going on around you.
- Always tell someone at home which route you will be walking or cycling.
A community approach to fighting crime is essential and always pays dividends leading to safer communities. It starts off with a commitment from residents to report crimes accurately and a follow up commitment from SAPS and other influencers in the sector, like the private security industry, to follow up on all leads and react proactively to trends and incidents to reduce crime levels,” concludes Bronks.