Dear Valued CBAR Clients,
Many South Africans are acutely aware, that one of the major concerns for all is the continued increase in crime as a whole throughout the country, which was confirmed with the release of the latest crime statistics by the minister of police, Bheki Cele.
There are typically two types of criminal activity, namely organised crime and opportunistic crime.
Organised crime is generally crime that involves a group of individuals, whether they are from within our country’s borders or operating internationally. These groups operate on a large scale and operate in the same way a large business or corporation would operate.
There will be a distinct hierarchical structure and a team that operates on a permanent basis. There are those responsible for planning that would be intelligence gatherers, risk managers, as well as those insuring the safety of its members. As a rule there will be a singular centralized authority which would be vested in one or a handful of members.
These groups or syndicates often specialize in a particular type of crime, but may diversify if the need arises.
A good example of this is the current situation in South Africa. Crowbar gangs were operating with impunity for a period. Then cash-in-transit robberies showed a sharp spike in recent months until about June. SAPS in turn assigned more staff to deal and react to cash in transit heists. This in turn makes it a higher risk for members of crime syndicates to conduct these robberies. These criminals then adapt and started targeting malls and specifically cell phone and jewellery stores more frequently. As can be seen at many malls, the security compliment has increased and the staff working in these high risk stores are sensitised to be extra vigilant in light of the spike in armed robberies.
There are specific duties assigned to members’ of organized crime syndicates depending on their type of specialization. There are often statistics published with regard to which types of vehicles are most often stolen. Toyota’s are by far the most targeted vehicles, followed by VW and Nissan. These vehicles are either stolen to commit further crime or to be sold within RSA or over the border. So the vehicles being targeted in hijackings are not just random and there is a distinct pattern as to which vehicles are most likely to be targeted. Insurers are also aware of the statistics and assign higher premiums to vehicles more commonly stolen.
These criminal syndicates most often use force or acts of violence to commit these crimes, as well as to show other criminal groups known within the crime circle, that they should not be taken lightly,.... a form of keeping out of the competition.
The criminal gangs initially operate within a specific area, but slowly grow by increasing the number of members as well as expanding into a larger geographical area. Violence and threats of violence are used to eliminate competition, which is point and case why a number of gangsters are now living in and around the city bowl having left “war zones” in the cape flats.
Specific syndicates specialise in theft of motor vehicles, others in theft of electronic goods or high end jewellery. Their crime intelligence has already chosen which particular type of vehicle model is needed to fulfil an order and similarly carry the required implements to steal or hijack these vehicles.
These syndicates evolve and often develop contacts with various structures and agencies, which in turn provide protection against interference from law enforcement authorities. This protection will be well remunerated either in cash or favours.
Organised crime syndicates are involved in the drug trade, protection rackets, poaching, assassinations, prostitution, illegal firearms etc and are a major threat to our social stability and economic growth.
Opportunistic crime is exactly that, opportunistic. Whereby a criminal, who more often than not, does not belong to a criminal organisation, finds an opportunity to break-in to a home or motor vehicle. Windows, doors or gates left open or items left visible in a motor vehicle, generally act as a catalyst for these types of criminals to act. Carelessness such as leaving garage doors open, leaving items and electronic goods visible in parked cars or walking and talking on cell phones are examples of behaviour that attracts opportunistic crime.
They might partake in armed robberies such as convenience stores or perform armed robberies on members of the public when the opportunity arises.
Hopefully this provides a small insight into criminal dynamics and a basic understanding of what is currently being experienced.
- Kindly remember to trim all excess and unnecessary foliage that could cause outdoor detectors to false alarm and ensure windows are not left even slightly open if the alarm is armed, as the change in ambient temperature in a room can change with a gust of wind, triggering an infrared sensor. Wind also causes moving blinds or curtains to set off the alarm.
- Responding to false alarms directly impacts the response times, as vehicles and staff are tied up dealing with false alarm callouts.
- Alarm systems should be fully functional. Contact our CMC on 0860 151515 to test your alarm preferably between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday.
- Test your panic buttons, preferably before an incident.
- Your alarm system should offer layers of protection inside and outside your home, with outdoor detection being your first line of electronic defence, other than an electric fence.
- Do not arm your alarm system in STAY mode when exiting the premises. By arming in STAY mode, all internal sensors could be bypassed so that an intruder removing a pane of glass and entering will not be detected by the volumetric detection (PIR).
- Access to premises. Hypothetically, if there is a medical emergency on the premises and CBAR receives a panic signal, how would we gain entry? If you are unsure, contact our technical department for electronic solutions or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All key holders supplied by yourselves should be contactable in the event their presence is required at your premises. These would be in times when there has been a positive break-in, a medical situation or where an Armed Reaction officer needs to conduct a full check of the premises.
- Visible deterrent signage. Ensure there is a CBAR deterrent signboard on your wall to ensure criminals are aware your property is protected by the local Armed Response Company, as well as indicating to CBAR patrol officers that your property is in our care.
- Link up your electric fence to your alarm system so that a signal is sent to our monitoring centre if it is breached.
- Install good quality locks and deadbolts on external doors. Even though they are not a deterrent to aggressive intruders, it may buy some time to summon help.
- Answer your door with it closed. Many people still answer their front door by opening it to a well dressed / well spoken person.
- Never divulge personal information to an unknown person at your door or even in public.
- Don’t hide keys outside; leave spare keys with a neighbour, friend or family member.
- Garages with direct access into your home should not be left open even if your property is fenced in. Forced entry via garage doors has increased recently.
- Ensure that garage doors and sliding gates that can be opened remotely are programmed to open and close quickly to limit the amount of time it stays open, thereby reducing the window of opportunity for criminals wanting to slip in whilst open. Move in and out as swiftly as possible.
- Glass sliding doors can be blocked from opening by fitting a correctly cut piece of wood or metal into the track.
- Always confirm the identity of a person who presents themselves to you at your property, even if they are uniformed. They should have company identification, so call their company or office if you have any doubt as to their reasons for being there.
- Ensure you do not have mail sticking out of your letterbox. It has your name on it and information on invoices, statements etc may be used by criminals removing same.
- CCTV costs have decreased making it an affordable option and having cameras linked to your Smartphone or computer, gives you 24 hour “eyes on” your property.
- If you live in a property visible from the street, close curtains or blinds at night so that criminals cannot observe you moving around your home, thus preventing them from being able to map out where the lounge or main bedroom is. This information would be important to them if they are planning a burglary.
- Avoid leaving spare car keys / remotes in obvious places. These usually get stolen during a break-in, resulting in expensive replacements, as they can be used to steal vehicles at a later stage or the alarm being compromised due to the spare remote being in a criminal’s possession.
WHILE OUT & ABOUT
- Criminal activity has increased in malls and shopping centres. Know your various exit and entry points in relation to where you have parked. Ensure the mall you visit has visible security personnel who should have been briefed on how to react in an armed robbery or similar situation.
- Know that hijackers often follow their victims from malls and shopping centres. Look in your rear view mirrors and survey other vehicles around you, especially for vehicles that may appear to be following you.
- Pull into your property and enter your sliding gate or garage only after it is fully open and when you have looked to see that there are no other vehicles ready to pull up behind you to box you in.
- Highjacking has increased and there are a multitude of ways these highjackers may try and take your vehicle. Let commonsense prevail and be aware that they may try various techniques to get you to stop.
- Avoid collecting large sums of cash to take home or to the office.
- Take a different route to and from the office or to the shopping centre most often visited, thus making your daily routine less predictable.
- Jogging with earphones is great, but remember it prevents you from hearing road traffic or criminals sneaking up on you.
- Make absolutely sure when dropping your children off at school, that you watch them entering the premises.
- Don’t let your children wait outside school premises before collecting them. Rather call them on their phones once you are outside the entrance and are able to get a visual on them exiting the premises.
- Opportunistic criminals constantly walk past parked cars looking for items to steal. Don’t leave anything including items of clothing visible, these will act as a catalyst for a break-in.
- Try to avoid driving late at night and if necessary take a passenger with you.
- Personal security involves taking the necessary steps so as not to place yourself in a potentially dangerous situation by recognising, assessing and anticipating a crime about to take place in your direct surroundings.
VISIT our web-site on www.cbar.co.za for all our stats.
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Best wishes and kind regards.
Alan Kusevitsky and the CBAR Team