Police visibility is critical

Police visibility is critical.
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, we felt safe and secure with all the cops stationed along the highways and byways. They were out in their hundreds.
Within days after the football spectacle, the cops disappeared.
I remember partnering with the police and Crime Line at the time and hosting a massive show of force by our security forces. Then police boss, General Bheki Cele, led it. It was impressive.
Former Western Cape and Gauteng police commissioner, General Mzwandile Petros, introduced sector policing. 
We saw blue lights flashing 24/7 across these two provinces especially. Petros left the police and much of the visibility stopped.
Police visibility is certainly a deterrent  against crime. Yes, criminals move to other areas when police up the heat at hotspots. That’s why the SAPS need to have widespread visibility and sustained operations.
It’s good to see police having set up camps 24/7 at Fountains Circle in Pretoria, along the R21 and also at the Allandale offramp on the N1 in Midrand. 
Let’s hope they do the same at other intersections and crime hotspots.
Fountains Circle has been a headache for motorists with scores of Smash and Grab incidents reported weekly. I have repeatedly raised this issue with authorities. 
With police now stationed at Fountains, no incidents have been reported for the past three days. Let’s hope it stays that way.
I spoke to a vendor who says the criminals would come everyday without fail. Now with the camp at Fountains, they have disappeared. 
The thugs will probably try their luck at other intersections such as Eeufees or old Johannesburg Road – and that’s why police patrols and visibility is needed far and wide.
Having the cops stationery at intersections will help to also look for  criminals if they use these routes to escape after committing crime. 
For the men and women to sit in their vehicles and read newspapers or chill is not going to work. They need to be on patrol and be alert. 
Visibility is also good to boost public confidence and it has a positive psychological effect. 
Let’s hope the SAPS maintains and grows this strategy. 
I was approached by a large corporate recently wanting to invest in making our cities safer. 
We met with Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, and officials from the JMPD last week and they loved the proposal which is part of their CSI.
Let’s hope red-tape does not delay implementation. It’s good to see the private sector wanting to invest millions of rands to #MakeSAsafe and we now need government to move at speed.
*Namola now has over 66 000 downloads. We are getting requests from across South Africa to make it national. Outside Gauteng and Stellenbosch, the app connects users to 10111. We are working on plans to go national by the end of this year.
The partnership between the City of Tshwane, Gauteng Community Safety/Gauteng Traffic and Stellenbosch Municipality is yielding excellent results. Response times have been dramatically improved. 
*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador 

Twitter: @abramjee
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