Church burgled

Thieves rob St Francis United Church

Crime plumbed new depths on Monday night when thieves broke into St Francis Church and made off withmade off with a large amount of equipment, including the sound system, as well as blankets, food and clothing collected for the needy. The SAPS are investigating and a certain amount of equipment has been recovered.

It really is time that our courts put these  criminals away for a long time. So often the perpetrators are apprehended by SAPS, locked up for a day or two before taken to court where they receive bail and in a day or two are back committing their foul deeds. Even once convcted they spend a few months n prison where they are abbe to hone their skill before being let free into society to rob and pillsge. It is time South African courts stat dishing out life sentences to repeat offenders. They will never be reformed so have no right to ever be part of normal society.

Anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour or find any of the goods which have been stolen is requested to contact SAPS St Francis Bay, or the church office at 042-294-1943

Bobbies on Bikes

Bobbies on Bikes for St Francis

Friday 21st July saw an initiative “Bobbies on Bikes”, motivated by St Francis Community Policing Forum and supported by St Francis Property Owners Association and local business, launched in St Francis. Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen welcomed Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lt General Liziwe Ntshinga and Humansdorp Cluster Commander Brigadier Lebok at a well-attended public meeting held at the Sea Vista Community  Hall.

Bobbies on Bikes

Kouga Exec Mayor Elza van Lingen with Wayne Furphy (SFPO), Nigel Aitken (CPF) and Lt General Liziwe Ntshinga

Receiving six bicycles from Community Policing Forum’s Nigel Aitken and SFPO Association Chairman Wayne Furphy, Lt General Ntshinga in her keynote address commented on how the Bobbies on Bicycles was a wonderful opportunity for the public to be able to interact with the local police. With more visible policing offered by the ‘Bobbies on Bikes’ as well as the improved access to areas not always accessible in police vehicles, would go a long way to reducing crime in the St Francis.

Following the event at the Community Hall, SAPS hosted a lunch for dignitaries and media at St Francis Links and to celebrate the event, six  ‘Bobbies on Bikes’, as some local residents may have witnessed, rode their new bikes with a ride from the Community Hall to the Links.

Bobbies on Bikes

St Francis’ Bobbies on Bikes with Lt General Liziwe Ntshinga and Nigel Aitmen (CPF)

Bobbies on Bikes

Footnote:
Lt General Ntshinga joined the SA Police Service in 1985 and her experience as a specialized detective spans over 22 years. She has vast experience in the investigation of sexual offences and organized crime, which resulted in her being appointed as the Provincial Head, DPCI in the Northern Cape in 2010. During the first DPCI prestige awards, the Northern Cape received an award of best project investigation which was recognized internationally. Ntshinga successfully led various operations and projects including Project CARNARD, a cross border operation between Namibia and South Africa, focusing on theft of motor vehicles from Japan thorough Durban harbour  en-route to Namibia, Project DE LITE, dealing with precious stones that were illegally exported from SA to Switzerland and India and Project DARLING, a sting operation carried out by a multi-disciplinary project team whereby 21 senior businessmen were arrested in different provinces on charges of contravening the Diamond Act. The court granted ten preservation orders in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, effectively freezing property in the sum of about R50 million. Diamonds worth R60 million were recovered during the raids.

Safety & Security Meeting

A safety and security meeting is to be held at the Sea Vista Community Hall on Friday 21st July and the residents of St Francis are invited to attend a forum where leading members of the South African Police Services, the Kouga Mayor and members of the St Francis Community will provide an update of activities and strategies in our fight against crime.

This is your opportunity to raise concerns and provide input into a community based strategy. The vision is to consolidate resources in the fight against crime; the long term strategy is to make greater St Francis a better and safer place to live.

Included in the high profile delegates who will address the meeting is the Eastern Cape Police Commissioner Major General Liziwe Ntshinga. Also attending are SAPS Cluster Commander – Brigadier J Lebok, SAPS St Francis Station Commander -Captain N Gomoshe, Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen, St Francis Property Owners – Chairperson Wayne Furphy  and Community Police Forum – Chairperson John Hammond.

It is important that residents make an effort to attend this meeting so as to illustrate in how concerned we as a community are at the state of crime in St Francis. Promises of a new police station were promised years ago but seem to have been forgotten as has the entire infrastructure of policing in St Francis. There is little point in complaining about our safety and security in terms of crime if we don’t make an effort to participate by voicing our concerns and possible solutions.

The meeting will be held at the Sea Vista Community Hall in Steenbras Street, Sea Vista from 10:00am to 12 noon on Friday 21st July.

PLEASE MAKE AN EFFORT TO ATTEND

Reducing crime in St Francis

NW reducing crime in St Francis Bay

Visitors and locals alike may not know that St Francis is under the threat of regular home invasions, sometimes with even the threat of, or actual, violence being  committed. St Francis is also a target of opportunistic crime whether from your home, accommodation establishment, or from parked cars.

Neighbourhood Watch works in close collaboration with the Police and security companies. The Station Commissioner of St Francis Bay Police has made a request to all Greater St Francis residents and visitors to be aware and take the necessary precaution of protecting their own property. There have been several cases where negligence on the part of a visitor or property owner has encouraged theft. The main items targeted are cell phones, laptops, cameras, jewellery, and money. The following tips should assist in this regard:

  • Don’t leave valuable and expensive items visible in your car as they attract potential criminals.
  • Lock your vehicle at all times, even when entering a shop for a quick purchase.
  • Mark your possessions with some form of identification.
  • Lock your vehicle in the garage overnight or park it in the back yard and lock the gates.
  • If your car is not in a garage, park in a well-lit area if possible.
  • Keep your vehicle particulars such as registration, engine number and chassis number on file, but not in your vehicle. It assists the police in the speedy recovery of your vehicle if it is stolen.
  • Lock all doors and windows when leaving premises and don’t leave laptops etc visible or near windows.
  • Take all possible security precautions and set the alarm system when leaving the house.
  • Be alert.

 In recent months a new Neighbourhood Watch has been established in St Francis and needs more volunteers to do patrols at night in addition to the police and security firms of Smhart and Calibre. The new Neighbour Watch patrols have made a significant dent on the number of break-ins but at the moment there are not enough patrols and more volunteers are needed. One patrol of two hours a week is requested, two people per patrol. Volunteers are requested to phone Barry Wild on 082-3679947. Assistance is also requested with the cost of equipment such as strobe lights, decals and other equipment. Barry handles this also.

Sy Francis Neighbourhood Watch

Volunteers manning the Neighbourhood Watch stand outside Spar.

Article & photograch – Yvonne Bosman

Neighbourhood Watch Needs You

Neighbourhood Watch looking for members

Neighbourhood Watch - St Francis BayCrime is on the increase in St Francis Bay and the town is now under the threat of regular HOME INVASIONS with threats, or actual violence being committed. NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NEEDS YOU as patrol members, and or sponsors.

Neighbourhood Watch has, in other towns, assisted in bringing down crime so Barry Wild has taken the initiative and established one in St Francis Bay.

Neighbourhood Watch will have a hold a “RECRUITATHON” at the Saturday Morning Market this weekend. Look out for the large purpose built display. Supporters (in blue T-shirts with Neighbourhood Watch insignia) will be on hand to answer questions, to encourage people to join as new members, as well as to seek donations from those who for one reason or another cannot patrol.

The reason for all this is because St Francis Bay is now under the threat of regular HOME INVASIONS with threats or actual violence being committed.

Barry says: “There have been FIVE such cases in the last SIX WEEKS. Just imagine being awakened from your sleep to be surrounded by three or four thugs wearing black balaclavas, brandishing knives and threatening you should you fail to conform to their demands.

“In addition to that we have the never-ending morning reports of the latest crimes against property and persons. If not checked, how long before we are in the territory of Rapes and Murders which is sadly the case in other areas of South Africa.”

Some neighbouring towns and villages have well-resourced and equipped Neighbourhood Watches. One close to us is Paradise Beach, which has significantly limited crime in their village. Kenton-on-Sea is another town with an effective Neighbourhood Watch.

“St Francis Bay has a small, but dedicated Neighourhood Watch group, but is seriously lacking in man/woman power to help with the gaps in patrolling shifts. We also seek help with funding. It costs upwards of R1 000 to equip one of our members with all the equipment they need: search lights/roof strobe lights/personal protection equipment etc.”

To join NW is easy. There is NO fee but just a commitment to do one two-hour patrol each week.” Should fuel be a problem contact Barry.

The few stalwart volunteers who do Neighbourhood Watch duties need your support in sharing the load of patrolling. Come to the Morning Market or contact Barry Wild on 082 367 9947 or on thewilds@telkomsa.net

Article by Yvonne Bosman

Spike in Crime

Spike in Crime – Don’t become a victim!

Avoid being the victim of the crime and the court system. Having to appear as a witness / victim of a crime is no cruise on the canals at sunset.

That there has been a spike in crime in St Francis Bay is undeniable and things seem not to be getting better.  The call for volunteers for the Neighbourhood Watch is thus timeous, certainly until the present crime wave is brought under control. Whilst much can be done to stop this wave this will only be possible if all residents play their part, and that is not to say all must join Neighbourhood Watch although a few more volunteers wouldn’t hurt.

We all need to do all we can to secure our own properties by ensuring alarms are properly activated,  protecting open doors with closed security gates on these warm evenings we are enjoying, not leaving valuables visible in vehicles and not walking alone on the beach at night are a start. Clearing bush in around your property and your neighbourhood and reporting those who are not doing likewise. Every little bit helps.

Many will no doubt denigrate SAPS for not doing enough to curb crime and will say it is their job, but let’s be fair. They are understaffed, under resourced and will only become demotivated without the positive support of the community. But worst of all they are not being supported by the judiciary.

Having been the victim of a car break-in way back in June last year where the perpetrators were soon arrested thanks to CCTV not only alerting the resorts security of their presence but also capturing on video, their intrusion. Shut and dried case one would think but no! Since the incident this scribe and a fellow witness have been summoned to court three times since the incident and to date the suspects still have not been brought to book.

On our first court appearance as witnesses the case was postponed as the defence attorney had suffered whiplash. Fair enough these things happen and cannot be predicted. Second appearance the accused had been let out on bail and did not pitch up so a warrant of arrest was issued. And so the case was again postponed. At our third appearance, yesterday,  – you guessed it! Correctional Services failed to deliver the one accused to court and the whereabouts of the second were apparently unknown as the uncertainty lay in whether he was in the clink or roaming the streets on bail.

Spending as much time at the courthouse as I have over the past six or so months has been quite an experience. Not a pleasant one. The summons calls for you to be in court at 9:00 am and failure to attend will have you in contempt and thus no doubt face arrest. So as a law abiding citizen one abides, even being a little early just in case you miss the call and find yourself spending time in the slammer along with those you have come to testify against.

And so the experience begins. The passages are crammed with people, witnesses, family and even accused, out on bail awaiting court to start. But it doesn’t. In the courtroom, courtroom officials sit idly chatting, reading or possibly playing games on their cell phones. Must be games for nobody can be texting friends for 90 minutes. In the crowd you spot and chat with the odd detective you have come to know since your saga started, detectives who are now standing round waiting to give evidence rather than being out in the field solving crimes and arresting criminals.

Over an hour and a half after arriving at court and watching officials move from office to office through crowded passages, loaded with Manilla files and seeming to achieve nothing, the prosecutor calls you. You are one of the lucky ones for that friendly detective knows the prosecutor and manages to have a word in his ear to hasten things up. He, the prosecutor advises you that the accused are not available in court and so you may go but advises you that you will be called to bear witness at a future date. So you leave court some two hours after arriving and court incidentally is still not in session.

So some ten or more hours of attending a trial that hasn’t yet happened, one feels even more the victim. So to avoid not only being victim to the crime, but also a victim of the court system you should rather do all you can to avoid the crime being perpetrated in the fist place.

Lastly! Cape St Francis has been largely spared with far fewer incidences than in St Francis Bay, possibly because pickings are closer to the township in St Francis Bay. But let this not encourage complacency for if pickings become harder to come by, these criminals will quickly move southward.