Airport attacks ‘critical’

THE POST / 12 OCTOBER 2017, 2:00PM / 
DOREEN PREMDEV

Durban – Police are convinced that the “follow home” airport attacks have dropped since July.
However, security companies say the situation is still critical.

Their clients are forking out R3000, and sometimes more, for armed security to escort them safely from OR Tambo International Airport to their destinations.

National police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the number of “follow home” attacks have dropped since July 25 – from up to five incidents a week to nil.

This, he said, was until two weeks ago when 36 Dutch tourists were attacked and robbed by five armed men – one of them posing as a uniformed police officer.

The tourists were allegedly followed from the airport and forced to stop in Fourways, north of Johannesburg.

They were robbed of their personal items and luggage.

Allegations from security bosses and individuals involved in crime fighting initiatives say there is a syndicate operating at the airport – with some OR Tambo staff involved in tipping off criminals involved in the attacks. Naidoo said police could not rule out this possibility but it had not been conclusively proven.

“There are many theories and allegations have been made but no one has come forward with evidence to substantiate this,” said Naidoo.

“We have put into place a new revise strategy to deal with the attacks. One of the many strategies we have implemented to curb the problem, include a vetting process of staff employed at the airport.”

Naidoo said prior to July 25 the attacks were reaching unprecedented proportions.

He said this dropped after Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula intervened and a decision was taken for the police to further announce their presence.

Attacks

“We have established a close working relationship with private security companies, SA Tourism and guest house owners to find ways to combat and prevent these attacks. These criminals are after money, personal valuables and luggage.”

The general manager of Johannesburg-based Asar Security, Raees Shamar, said they offered private armed security escort to businesses and the general public from the airport for the last three years.

“We get about 20 calls a week for armed escort from the airport to a client’s home. The situation is clearly critical,” said Shamar.

“People pay from R3 000 for armed escort – there are three armed, trained and certified officers per car. Some request two cars as added precaution. The price fluctuates per car.”

He said his officers are alert and looked out for any suspicious activity and obstacles on the road.

Shamar added that he was convinced certain airport staff are involved in tipping off criminals.

“People coming back home with large sums of money or other valuables will have to declare this at customs and that is where they are being marked. There is no other way a criminal would know who to target unless they are getting inside information.”

Yaseen Theba , the director of Vision Tactical, an armed security company, said spotters working at the airport were a vital key to the “follow home” attacks.

He said to their existing clients, they offered free escort from the airport and charged a fee from R1000 to non-clients from the airport to Sandton.

This, he said, depends on the time of day, traffic and number of people travelling.

“While my officers don’t have the power to do what the police have, creating a presence at the airport and on the roads leading out of the airport serves as a strong deterrent to would-be criminals.

“We didn’t just offer this service because we saw a gap in the market and decided to capitalise on it. Our clients requested it due to the high number of attacks.”

Theba urged travellers to be discreet with large sums of money, jewellery and electronic equipment and to be alert.

Sizwe Sampson, the client liaison officer for Beagle Watch in Fairlands, said “follow home” attacks also happened to people who visit public places like the mall.

“We get about 100 calls a month for this service. It’s an alarming reality but people do get followed home from public areas.”

Crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said: “These robberies are going to kill SA tourism.

The negative reports are going across the world. If police are not able to protect people, the alternative would be to get private security. I suspect police involvement in some of these attacks, as in the case with the Dutch tourists. A policeman in uniform stopped the tourists – he is either a rogue or fake cop”

Naidoo said it had not been confirmed if the person involved was a policeman.

POST

Tourists robbed on their way to hotel from airport

12 October 2017 – 21:53

BY TIMESLIVE

A group of seven tourists‚ including an Iraqi diplomat‚ were attacked at the Corlett Drive offramp in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.

Police could not immediately confirm the attack and Gauteng police spokesman Kay Makhubele said he was on his way to the crime scene on Thursday night.

According to tweets from anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee‚ the tourists were followed from the OR Tambo International Airport as they made their way to their hotel.

He said one Iraqi ambassador was assaulted‚ and the tourists’ luggage was stolen. He said the criminals left the scene in two vehicles.

 

Road Safety and Preventing Smash-and-Grab

Introduction and Definition

Crime and criminal activity require from South African motorists alertness and caution to more than only other vehicles.

Even though progress has been made in fighting hijackings and vehicle theft, there has been an increase in theft from vehicles. Many of these are what can be defined as “Smash-and-Grab”.

In this section, we would like to discuss the crime of smash-and-grab in more detail and offer recommendations to motorists on preventing this sudden invasion of privacy and likely loss of possessions.

What is a smash and grab crime?

A smash and grab criminal turns a pleasant drive into a nightmare when criminals are pouncing on unsuspecting drivers. The criminal act is usually characterised by smashing through some sort of barrier (e.g. vehicle window) while the car is stationary at traffic lights or stuck in slow moving traffic and grabbing something of value (e.g. jackets, handbags, laptops, etc).

A smash and grab usually plays on the element of speed and surprise  -The violent smashing of the window at the passenger side places the motorist in a few moments of silent paralysis – just enough to get hold of the valuables and flee the scene!

These car burglaries can be expensive, from the cost of repairs to the vehicle and windows to replacing your belongings. The victims will most likely be traumatised and feel victimised for quite some time.

What is being targeted?

The thieves are usually after valuables which they can easily identify from outside the vehicle and sell as easily once removed from the possession of the motorists. Items targeted include:

  • Purses, hand bags and wallets
  • Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks
  • Shopping bags
  • Cell phones, MP3 players and tablets
  • Loose change and CDs
  • Keys

Where are drivers most at risk and what are the methods used?

We find in the media mentions and warnings of so-called “Hot spots”. Even without warning signs, the cautious driver would be able to identify areas where he/ she would be most at risk. These tend to be places where criminals know that vehicles will be stationary, where drivers can be easily distracted and where the criminal can make a quick and effective escape.

Who are most vulnerable?

  • The victims are most often single drivers with belongings on the passenger seat.
  • Criminals tend to focus on female drivers well knowing that they are less likely to chase after them.
  • Drivers who are distracted are most vulnerable – those busy on the cellular phone or with a cigarette in the hand.
  • Vehicles left unattended away from the crowds and with valuables visible are easy targets for a quick smash-and-grab.

Methods used and Modus Operandi

  • Criminals will focus on those areas where they know traffic is often congested and where vehicles will remain stationary for a while.
  • These criminals also will often work in pairs where one will pose as a vendor, distracting the attention of the driver while the other party will perform the smash –and-grab from the passenger side.
  • Objects are sometimes placed on the road and motorists make the mistake of leaving their vehicles to remove these objects. This is when the vehicles are then easily targeted.
  • Communication technology such as cellular phones has also enabled these criminals to identify potential victims from a bridge or position of elevation and to relay this message to their partners in crime further along the road.
  • The person making the smash and grab will most likely select the scene of the crime as an area where a fast getaway would be possible for him and any pursuit would be difficult.

Advice on preventing smash-and-grabs

Even though it is not always possible to avoid the so-called “hotspots” where these criminals prey on unsuspecting motorists, it is possible to reduce the risk of becoming a smash and grab the victim. Motorists can make these burglaries more difficult. Smash-and-grab car burglars don’t want difficult challenges and would rather prefer to move on when they suspect hurdles to the swift execution of these crimes.

We would like to advise the following measures:

Safe Driving

  • Lock all your doors and close the windows when driving – Never open vehicle windows or doors for strangers.
  • Avoid opening your windows or getting involved in discussions with street vendors or anyone handing out flyers.
  • Be constantly on the lookout for suspicious looking characters.
  • Always be conscious of your surroundings and remain alerted when coming to an intersection or stopping your vehicle.
  • Be wary of people standing at intersections – They may be innocent but perpetrators mix with these people while waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
  • If you encounter obstacles such as rocks or tyres do not get out of your vehicle to remove them -immediately reverse and drive off in the opposite direction.
  • If it’s late at night, slow down well in advance so that the light changes green by the time you reach the intersection.
  • Leave a gap between you and the car in front of you to give you room to escape (i.e. drive away from the scene), if anything should happen.
  • Be especially wary whenever you see broken glass lying on the road. If the pieces of glass are still scattered across the road, chances are that a smash and grab occurred just recently.

Taking Away the Attraction

  • Reduce the chances of becoming a target by removing that which the criminals are trying to get their hands on.
  • Smash-and-grab car burglars aren’t exactly criminal masterminds. Many simply act on impulse.
  • Don’t have bags, cellular phones, briefcases or other valuables visible inside the vehicle – valuables only attract thieves who may break your car window.
  • Hide your valuables. – Car floors, dashboards and seats are not good places to leave items.
  • If you can’t take valuable items with you, hide them out of sight in your trunk.

Safety when Parking

  • Thieves target car parks. Always park your car in attended parking lots.
  • When parking at night ensures that you always park in a well-lit area.
  • Keep your car visible. Thieves do not want witnesses – You can help prevent a smash-and-grab by parking your car in crowded areas near pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
  • Never sit in your vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings.
  • Lock your doors and roll up your windows when you park
  • Activate your security system
  • Consider window tinting (if permitted by local laws)
  • Avoid using the console or glove box as mobile lockboxes
  • Don’t hand a car burglar your keys. Leaving your key on the dash or in the ignition is an invitation to a car burglar. And keep in mind that if you have a great hiding place for a spare key (in your wheel well or above your sun visor), a thief has thought of it, too.
  • Stow your belongings like shopping bags and laptops in the trunk before you get to the parking area.

Window Safety Film

What is ‘smash and grab’ film?

Protective safety film is pasted on vehicle windows to help prevent smash and grab incidents. The protective film is usually tinted so that no one can see into the car, while also preventing the windows from shattering. While the glass breaks, the film holds the pieces in place, which further protects you from broken glass.

Although smash and grab film may not prevent smash and grab incidents from taking place, it will give you a few extra minutes to recompose yourself and drive away safely.

If you don’t have smash and grab film installed, leave your window open slightly (approximately 3 cm, but less than 5cm) whilst driving. This makes the glass more flexible and more resistant to shattering if they’re struck by a sharp object.

Safety film is however not only a deterrent for criminals. Other benefits include:

  • It protects passengers from being hit by dangerous glass splinters when the glass breaks in side-impact accidents.
  • Windows film can reject up to 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, helping to protect you against skin cancer, and your car’s interior from fading and cracking.
  • Safety film forms an invisible shield to reduce glare and resultant eye fatigue.
  • The film also improves your comfort by keeping the vehicle interior cool and comfortable in the scorching heat, reducing the load on the air conditioning and thus saving fuel.

Keep in mind that some car insurance companies provide a discounted premium to vehicle owners installing window safety film on their vehicles.

Conclusion

The cautious driver will be able to prevent most incidents of smash-and-grab. If there is nothing to grab there is no reason for the window to be smashed! Trust your instincts. If you see suspicious activity, find somewhere else to park. We would like to urge motorists to report suspicious activity to the proper authorities – you can help prevent others from becoming a victim of a smash-and-grab or another crime!

House break-ins a major headache for Joburgers

Dangerous burglar sneaking into the house.
Image: iStock

10 September 2017 – 14:45
BY BAFANA NZIMANDE

When Mandisa Manzini bought a house in Protea she was relieved that she would finally have a safe place to call home‚ but little did she know the headache that comes with owning property in Johannesburg.

The mother of two is a victim of two house robberies. The first incident occurred last April and thieves took electronic appliances worth more than R24‚000 while she was locked in her bedroom with her children‚ aged two and five years.

While intruders cleared her house‚ Manzini screamed and dialled the police who came hours after the criminals had left the area. Nobody was harmed during the incident but Manzini said it has traumatised her.

“I struggle to sleep at night since the incident. We live in fear because we don’t know when we might be robbed again. I have even considered moving out of this area because of the bad experience we have had‚” said Manzini.

Two other houses located along Manzini’s street suffered the same fate this June. Thembinkosi Mkhize‚ who lives next to Manzini‚ lost goods worth R30‚000. The experience has forced him to install an alarm system‚ build a boundary wall and beef-up security features in his house.

Based on the 2017 State of Urban Safety Report‚ Manzini and Mkhize’s frustration is shared by many in Johannesburg. The report said Johannesburg has the highest number of residential robberies‚ a trend that forces many to spend more on security.

Vision Tactical co-founder Yaseen Theba said the company is getting more clients from different Johannesburg suburbs and the figures keep on increasing as the December holiday season approaches.

“Crime is a national problem and those that live in lavish areas are more at risk because criminals want a piece of what they have. Criminals continuously improve their methods‚ that is why as security companies and law enforcement agencies we must be pro-active in our conduct‚” said Theba.

Without revealing too much detail‚ Yaseen said the company has deployed more guards in certain areas and has acquired technological gadgets to help combat crime. With armed guards on the ground and CCTV cameras‚ they also rely on a cellphone app that triggers quick response.

Head of client relations at insurance company OUTsurance Natasha Kawulesar said they have not observed an increase in the take up of insurance in Johannesburg but high crime statistics have an impact on the insurance industry.

Apart from increasing claims volume‚ high crime levels will see clients paying more on their premiums.

“Crime levels in an area affect the premiums in an area. Bear in mind this is based on statistics such as theft‚ fire‚ floods and other factors. One may deem an area safe but statistics may prove different‚” said Kawulesar.

Source

Vision Tactical Launches Mobile Command Unit 

The Mobile Command Unit, which is a high-tech SUV with satellite, internet, video and radio capabilities, will be essential for communications and coordination for Vision Tactical in the event of an emergency.

The mobile command unit will assist the Intervention Units & Tactical Units at large-scale events, operations and will also coordinate in training.

“We see the mobile command unit fitting in to our fleet as an instrument for controlling and mastering difficult operational situations in a manageable and organized fashion” said Yaseen Theba, Director at Vision Tactical. Emergencies won’t be the sole use for the mobile command unit, Theba said. The vehicle will also have a presence during community engagement activities and crime prevention campaigns.

Minors arrested for alleged armed robbery in Killarney

Rosebank Killarney Gazette

by Shanice Naidoo

KILLARNEY – Three suspects have been arrested for armed robbery on 6 July.

The three suspects that were arrested in Killarney by Hillbrow police for alleged armed robbery.

Three suspects have been arrested by Hillbrow police for allegedly terrorising the Killarney community over the past few days, said Vision Tactical director Yaseen Theba.

“Over the past few days, we received reports that young children in the Killarney area were being harassed by a group of thugs that were allegedly robbing them of cell phones and money. Some domestics workers and gardeners also confirmed that the suspects were young and not from the area,” explained Theba.

On 6 July a group of young boys ran into the park terrified after their money and phones were taken. The incident took place on 3rd and 2nd Avenue in Killarney.

The spokesperson for Hillbrow Police Station Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo confirmed that the incident had in fact taken place at around 1 pm and that some of the suspects that were arrested are still minors. He also confirmed that a stolen cellphone was recovered and that one suspect allegedly had a knife with him.

The young victims approached the Vision Tactical park safety ambassador and reported that the suspects had threatened to shoot and stab them if they didn’t hand over their phones and cash. The group of young boys were on their way to play in the park when they were approached by the suspects in the vicinity of the park.

Vision Tactical park safety ambassador Eric Minnie, whose quick response resulted in the apprehension of three alleged robbers in the Killarney area.

“The park safety ambassador immediately communicated with other Vision Tactical guards in the area and gave them a description of the suspects. They were spotted running towards the Wilds and the guards chased them,” added Theba.

The guards were backed up by the Tactical team. When members of the Vision Tactical team searched the suspects they allegedly found a knife, cash and the stolen phone.

Zondo said the suspects have not been linked to any cases at this stage, but police are currently investigating claims that the suspects were involved in other robberies.


Set Up Medical ID for Emergency on Your iPhone

Use Medical ID to save your important health information. Medical ID helps first responders access your critical medical information from the Lock screen, without needing your passcode.

Your Medical ID provides medical information about you that may be important in an emergency, like allergies and medical conditions as well as who to contact in case of an emergency. You can create your Medical ID in the Health app that can be accessed without unlocking your iPhone.

Set up your Medical ID

To make your important health information accessible in case of an emergency, you can set up your Medical ID in the Health app on your iPhone.

Create your Medical ID:

  1. Open Health and tap Medical ID > Edit.
  2. Enter your emergency contacts and health information like your birth date, height, and blood type.
  3. Turn on Show When Locked to make your Medical ID available from the Lock screen. In an emergency, this gives people who want to help some important information, like the emergency contacts that you’ve entered.
  4. When you’re finished, tap Done.

Make an emergency call and access Medical ID

If an iPhone has a Medical ID, you can view emergency medical information on the device or make an emergency call. To view the Medical ID, open the Health app and tap Medical ID. If the iPhone is locked, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Home button.
  2. Tap Emergency.
  3. On the Emergency call screen, you can make a call or tap Medical ID to see emergency medical information stored on the device.