500 behind bars due to anti-crime campaign

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pretoria - More than 500 people have been arrested in the 10 days since the launch of a crime awareness operation in Johannesburg.

Since the launch of the Shopping Crime Awareness campaign, more than 500 people have been put behind bars for various crimes including cash-in-transit heists, housebreaking, car hijacking as well as smash and grabs, shoplifting and assault.

The operation, which aims to increase community involvement in the fight against crime and educate them about the role of crime prevention and policing, is being conducted by the South African Police Services in conjunction with the Johannesburg Metro Police, Johannesburg Emergency Services and certain government departments.

Johannesburg police spokesperson Captain John Maluleke said the operation formed part of efforts to beef up law enforcement ahead of the festive season.

The department had decided to start the operation a little earlier this year due to the recent spate of crimes in shopping malls.

During the operation, police members visit shopping malls where they share safety tips with shoppers.

"We educate them on the do's and dont's of house robberies, such as calling the police and not touching anything in the house until they get there. We also show them how to hold their bags when going shopping and warn them not to give their physical address to strangers.

"We also share information on what we are doing and provide anti-crime messages," Captain Maluleke told BuaNews on Tuesday.

He attributed the success of the campaign to those shoppers who take the information they are given and use it to report crimes properly and those who are willing to testify in court.

Crimes which increase during this time include shoplifting and assaults.

He said the Shopping Crime Awareness campaign would continue until the year end.