Aug 8, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Load-shedding worsens crime in communities: CPFs

Since the escalation of load shedding to level 6, the Limpopo community of Phalaborwa has been feeling the consequences.

Break-ins and theft of transformers and cables increase when the area is plunged into darkness.

Anton Kellermann, a member of the Community Policing Forum (CPF), said they handle an average of six crimes per week, which wouldn’t necessarily have happened without load shedding. span>

span>

“With load shedding, we are seeing an increase in break-ins, cable thefts and generator thefts. We try to do as many patrols in the areas as possible, bearing in mind the very high fuel prices, as our Phalaborwa CPF members do this entirely out of their own pockets..

“ We work closely with the SA Police [Service] and security companies to help where we can. We are raising funds to install cameras in vulnerable areas,” he said.

In Polokwane, CPF Chairman Fergus Rosslee said they organized more night patrols during the load shedding.

“The streets are dark and alarms are going off. We’re conducting more night patrols, but we can’t disclose the procedure we’re using to protect Polokwane during load shedding,” he said, not wanting to give criminals a potential advantage by knowing their strategy.

Cable theft at load shedding is also on the rise in Bramley, in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. CPF Chairman Shoquat Suliman said crimes varied by area but robberies since the escalation of the burden would have increased. Loadshed at Level 6.

“Some of our areas, such as Marlboro, are very dark when loadshed occurs. In terms of safety, this is a major challenge. We have police vehicles that do more patrols and are more vigilant, and we keep night guards at hotspots,” he said.

Suliman said they work closely with private security companies covering the areas like Bramley, Marlboro and Randburg. Companies patrol certain points and try to be more visible, especially on the main entrance routes where there are barriers.

“Load shedding has increased crime rates, especially at night because we have more downtime. It was a big challenge for us.”

During prolonged power outages, guards are deployed at some mini-substations as criminals regularly target substations and make the situation worse.

“We’re trying to work with communities and sponsors to secure these power boxes by sort of locking them up or enclosing them in a cage so criminals can’t access them, especially during Load shedding,” he said.

In the Sasolburg area, load shedding has also led to cable theft. This has prompted residents to install alarm systems in some substations.

Johann Griessel of CPF Sasolburg and Vaalpark said thieves used the load shedding as an opportunity to steal cables and damage substations, knowing there was no electricity.

“We as the CPF and neighborhood watch have taken the initiative to patrol the cable and substation areas to try to prevent theft and vandalism. Some residents have set up solar lamps to shine on the substations at night and they also patrol,” he said.

Annelize Tichauer of the CPF in Linden, north Johannesburg, p Aid neighbors had banded together to help each other during the long power outages, and there were joint initiatives with security companies to pay special attention to infrastructure during load shedding.

“Without alarms, bars and electric fences, physical security becomes an absolute necessity. Rather lock the main gates manually to avoid being at risk if the gate motor batteries run out,” she advised.

Support independent journalism by using the Sunday Times. Only 20 R for the first month.