Around the time we were putting together this publication an armed robbery was taking place in St Francis Bay further demonstrating how out of control crime in St Francis has become. Living in the city one expects to hear reports of armed hold ups on petrol stations and 24-hr convenience stores and the like but in St Francis Bay? One of the reasons many choose to settle in St Francis is to get away from the crime in the big cities but that seems to changing.

Early yesterday morning three armed robbers held up the owner of the convenience store / second hand shop next door to the Caltex petrol station at gun point and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Considering there is only one way in and one way out of St Francis monitoring the comings and goings of traffic would certainly be far more effectively monitored than in a town with multiple entry / exit points. For this reason and considering the rapid increase in crime it has become imperative and indeed urgent that at least vehicle tracking CCTV cameras be considered, if only at the main entry / exit point at the circle. Cape St Francis Civics installed such a camera shortly before Christmas as far as SFT is aware there have been no major robberies since.

Certainly such a camera would not be the total solution but with a network of cameras as proposed in the St Francis Property Owners 2018 SRA presentation, there would certainly be some control and deterrent factor. Whether this ever becomes a reality of course is now in the hands of the property owners who need to cast their vote either in favour of or against the proposed SRA.

Sadly some owners have been extremely critical of the SFPO proposal and seemed almost obsessed with the fact that their money is to be spent on the beach and spit rejuvenation. As a town that relies primarily on tourist this priority makes sense but it is not the only matter being addressed? Possibly a way those against having their money spent on the beach / spit should look at it as their hard earned money being spent on improving their personal security (CCTV) and motoring costs with better roads  whilst those on the canals and beachfront pay for the spit and beach.

Of course everything could be left as is and as the sea encroaches on St Francis Drive and more and more home owners would abandon their properties, fewer tourist would visit, businesses would close down and ……

Crime would spiral even more than it is now.

But back to security and policing. Of course it is SAPS job to keep the community safe but they are not doing it. All we as a community can therefore do is appeal to SAPS’ higher authority which SFT understands some very concerned business people are in the process of doing and all play our part whether it be by supporting the Neighbour Watch in person or kind and by being alert to any suspicious behaviour be it in a car parking area or out on a street.

Although SAPS recently turned a victim of crime away when they went to report a burglary, alerting them to potential crime may receive a more positive response

A petition will be launched tomorrow.