There is no one solution to preventing crime especially with the general level of policing in the country. However, all indicators are that public space monitoring [CRA’s PSS scheme] does reduce the number of crime incidents. And residents must also be aware and take responsibility – ALWAYS report suspicious activity to CAP [0861 227 227], brief your employees on security matters [the Domestic Watch programme is highly recommended] – and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Public Space Security (PSS) Scheme
The PSS is designed to be a proactive service. Contributions from the community are pooled to fund vehicles that patrol the streets 24/7 looking out for suspicious activity – the concept is that potential criminals will be deterred before they get to someone’s property to commit a crime.
But I have an Armed Response Service!?
Normal residential armed response (AR) is a reactive service and is an arrangement between any home owner/occupant and the AR provider. Industry standards may vary but are on the lines of one vehicle for every 250-300 properties; usually there is only one officer in a vehicle. The officer responds only when a call is made or a panic button pressed.
The choice of an armed response provider is at the discretion of the resident. Any resident may choose to join the CRA’s PSS scheme in addition to a separate armed response provider.
The CRA community is fortunate that committed residents have taken on the challenge of the security portfolio.
A very important step taken by the CRA was the introduction – some 15 years ago – of our own 24/7 street patrols. The proactive street patrol service was originally provided by ADT. In 2008 the initiative was renamed, and the Public Space Security (PSS) scheme was launched.
CAP has been appointed as the CRA’s PSS provider from 1 March 2018.
A security camera network, including licence recognition cameras, is in place in our area. Camera footage can provide useful information following a security incident, and subscribers to the CRA’s PSS scheme may request access to footage from CAP.
While crime still occurs, the PSS scheme has undoubtedly helped contain crime in our suburbs. Its proactive approach [as opposed to the reactive nature of armed response] is intended to prevent a crime before criminals get to your property.
The information on our website aims to help residents deal more effectively with crime.
- Craighall falls under SAPS Randburg
- Craighall Park and Dunkeld West (west of Jan Smuts) fall under SAPS Parkview
- SAPS Rosebank is another nearby police station.
In the event of an emergency residents usually contact their armed response company.
What about crime?
At times we may feel engulfed in a sense of helplessness when it comes to crime. Is it due to poverty? Desperate foreigners? Actually it doesn’t matter – we need to face the fact that it’s we who own the problem.
Reflect on the words of well-known and respected businessman Francois Marais:
“People tend not to think that their contribution will make a difference, but we’ve passed the point where we can hold government and the police accountable for crime. Unless communities pull together, there’s little chance individual efforts against crime will succeed.”
What can we do?
We will not be able to address all the issues but we need the full engagement of the CRA community if we have any hope of success. Here are some suggestions.
Interacting with our police stations
Every police station has to have a Community Safety Forum [CSF] and / or a Community Policing Forum [CPF]. Each CSF meets on a monthly basis to review crime incidents in the area. The CRA has battled to find a Craighall resident to represent us at SAPS Randburg CPF but we are represented at SAPS Parkview.
With the feedback from these forums and security companies, the CRA is better placed to provide residents with regular updates / latest crime trends etc.
It is critically important that crime, of any nature, is reported because resource allocation and deployment depends very much on the reporting of actual events. The CRA also has our own on-line Craigpark Incident Advice Form so that you can keep us informed as well.
Join the PSS scheme.
Working with the security companies in our area
Most residents in our neighbourhood are contracted to one of the mainstream armed response companies. The CRA works with two of the main service providers, CAP and ADT. You should report any suspicious activity to your security company and/or the PSS provider, CAP.
CAP – 0861 227 227
ADT – 086 1212 400
Make sure that your employees have all important telephone numbers.
The Domestic Watch programme is aimed at empowering, in particular, our employees but every resident is welcome. Meetings are held on the last Friday of each month at the Wesleyan Church, corner Norfolk and Beaufort Avenues. The meetings cover topics ranging from essential First Aid to how to report suspicious activity. Penny Steyn is the organiser – contact her if you need more information.
Burglary empowerment strategies
It is also self-evident that additional steps such as contributing towards a community security scheme make a significant difference to personal safety and security. [See the CRA Public Spaces Security scheme – PSS.]
Check just how secure your home really is
- If you’ve just moved into your home, especially if you’ve done renovations, change all the locks! Whatever this might cost you, it’ll be a lot cheaper than putting yourself at risk of being cleaned out.
- For maximum protection, your entry door(s) should be solid and fitted with dead bolts, not spring loaded locks as these are easily opened with a credit card or such like. Sliding doors should have extra long bolts.
- Are you sure that your alarm system – if you have one – is of good quality? Always get three quotes. Be an informed consumer, check out exactly what you’re getting. When did you last test your alarm system? Do so regularly. Do you ever change your key pad number?
- Passive infra-red lights on the outside should be installed. If you have an electric fence, is it linked to your alarm system?
- Motion-sensitive lights are better around the outside of your home – you are more likely to be alerted as they come on, rather than having lights on all night. If you do have floodlights, rather have them shine towards your house – if someone is in your garden, the further away the lights the bigger will be the shadow.
- Don’t have your home completely concealed from the road. Make sure that you don’t have shrubs near your entrance that would allow a person to conceal themselves. Have you got trees on the border of your property that someone can climb?
- Remember – your house has five sides, ie the roof. It’s very easy to remove tiles… Secure your trap door and connect it to your alarm system.
- Try breaking in to your own house – it might frighten you to see how easy it is.
- Video or photograph each room, with the cupboard doors open. It can save you a lot of bother if you are burgled. Mark your valuables and record serial numbers.
- If you have purchased a major capital item such as a DVD recorder, TV, music centre, microwave etc. DON’T leave the packaging outside your gate for the recycling company or Pik-it-up to collect. You are inviting passing unwelcome visitors into your home to remove the item. This will be more important at Christmas time.
- Store seldom-used valuables off-site.
- Why do we tend to store valuables in the main bedroom? Rather find another place!
- Crooks are resourceful… How accessible is your mail box to the street? Do you lock it? Could someone remove a bank statement and get your bank account details? What can you do to improve the location of your mail box? When they’ve got your name, there are all sorts of scams, ranging from bogus Telkom employees, to calling you with “you’ve won a prize – a dinner for two…” Off you go – to return to a burgled home…
- NEVER leave your garage door open or leave ladders and tools lying around. Most garages have plenty of equipment that will be pretty handy for your burglar – and it saves him carting around a suspicious crowbar or other tools
- Don’t leave any information on your answering machine that would assist a would-be crook (“…The Smiths are away for three weeks, please call us at the end of January…” is a no-no!)
- Crooks love personalised number plates… “Hello Anita…”… Don’t display your name on your house or car.
Safety tips in a hi-jacking situation
Being hijacked is a terrifying experience. There are some very simple precautionary steps that you can take to reduce the chances of being hi-jacked.
The first thing to note is that 51% of hi-jackings take place in front of your residence, 14% at intersections and 10% victims sitting in parked cars.
- Be familiar with your environment.
- Get to know who belongs in the vicinity of your home or workplace, and who does not.
- Keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary.
- Lock all doors and close windows before driving off.
- Try to vary your route to work, the gym – all places you travel to regularly.
- Ensure all your mirrors are adjusted to give you an optimal all-round view of your surroundings.
- Try to stop about 5m behind the car in front of you at a stop sign or traffic light – it makes for an easy getaway if trouble arises.
- False appeals for help.
- “Accidents” such as having your car rammed from behind.
- Someone trying to get help from a stationary car.
- Your electric gates being jammed.
While there is no guarantee which action(s) will prevent hi-jacking, practising the following common sense techniques can reduce the risk.
- Have your key ready, but not visible.
- Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, check the back seat. Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before unlocking.
- Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the shop, or work, and get a guard or policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.
- If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger side. Many attackers surprise their victims by pulling them into their vans while they are attempting to get into their cars.
- People have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping and just sit (making a phone call or making a list). DON’T DO THIS! A criminal could be watching you. This is an opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side and attack you. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS.
- Know your destination and directions to it, and be alert should you get lost.
- Always drive with your windows and doors locked and/or closed.
- Drive in the centre lane away from pedestrians where possible.
- If possible, never drive alone.
- Do not leave windows open more than 5cm.
- Check your rear-view mirror to ensure that you are not being followed.
- When returning home after dark, ensure that there is an outside light on, or have someone meet you at the door. [Subscribers to the CRA’s PSS scheme always have this option open to them.]
- When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.
- Never sit in your parked car without being conscious of your surroundings. Sleeping in a stationery vehicle is particularly dangerous.
- When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles/person.
Help for victims of crime
Victims of crime usually require counselling. Don’t ‘wait and see’. Instead, discuss the options and get help immediately. Contact any of the following if your security company hasn’t put you in touch with a professional.
Trauma Clinic, telephone +27 (11) 403-5102
Victim Support Unit, SAPS Parkview, 011 486 5000 / 073 280 4453 (for immediate trauma intervention)
Life Line, 011 728 1347
702 Helpline, 011 506 3400
The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation
IN ANY EMERGENCY PHONE 10111 alternatively you can phone
PARKVIEW POLICE AT 011 067 6000
but remember the station lines may be busy and there could be a delay.
RANDBURG POLICE STATION 011 449 9000
PLEASE REPORT ANY CRIME, no matter how insignificant. Statistics are needed to improve the performance by SAPS. If you think the offence is too petty and you don’t want the ‘bother of going to the station to make a statement’, please e-mail: PARKVIEW-SAPS@saps.org.za
Telkom / Netcare911:
0860 911 900 (call must be made from residential land line, charged at local rates) – includes free emergency medical advice, emergency medical response and transfer to most appropriate medical facility
10111 (toll free)
10177 (toll free)
112 (all networks, toll free) 147 (Vodacom only)
Fire and Rescue Services:
(011) 375 5911