The JMPD has been in the thick of things in raids to arrest hijackers of buildings, operations to arrest drug syndicates and led in the recovery of hijacked vehicles.
These operations are informed by the City’s medium to long term safety strategy, which proposes a common approach to dealing with crime, violence, public safety, safety programmes and initiatives. It proposes that the City play a leading role in public safety and work in close co-operation with SAPS, the province, community based organisations and residents themselves.
The strategy underpins the City’s efforts to reduce the incidence of crime and the negative perceptions of crime, which affect business confidence and investment decision-making.
It forms the basis for the City’s Festive Season Safety Campaign and other safety programmes and interventions by JMPD, EMS, City entities and departments including external stakeholders like SAPS, safety agencies, business forum, transport operators, hawkers associations and communities.
The City has developed an extensive operational plan to clamp down on traffic management violations, prevent crime and enforce by-laws. The plan also outlines ways to prevent hijackings, robberies, theft, fires, floods, emergency situations, xenophobia and cable theft.
The festive season falls within the summer school holidays which is also the period when normal business activities end or are scaled down. This is the period during which many people take leave and travel, visit places of entertainment and recreation and shopping centres.
Unfortunately, the festive season is also an opportune time for criminals to target shoppers, businesses, homes and child trafficking. There is definitely a marked increase in criminal activity that requires the police to be on high alert with greater visibility on main roads, highways, exit routes and shopping malls.
During this period there is flagrant disregard of the rules of the road which results in the loss of life and or serious injuries through reckless driving, drunkenness and failing to reduce speed on wet roads.
So the City is dealing with various kinds of problems because as it is commonly said, it is the silly season. Illegal street trading, indiscriminate use of fireworks and dumping also increase.
The City has set out to gradually inculcate a culture of responsibility at home, on the roads, during events or leisure activities through education. This can only succeed with cooperation from motorists and communities at large as well as to get everyone to maintain a heightened sense of awareness and report illegal and criminal activity.
It is against this background that a Festive Season Plan has been developed to put in place proactive remedial actions in order to counter and curb the illicit activities during this season in order to create a harmonious and conducive society for the inhabitants of the City of Johannesburg and its visitors.
A large number of fatal injuries occur due to motorists who do not obey the rules of the road at all times, who drink and drive, text and drive or behave aggressively. Motorists also fail to reduce speed and keep a safe following distance when it rains which is a must because roads become slippery. A system of demerits has been introduced to deter motorists from being reckless or disobedient on the roads.
The change has to come from motorists themselves. Maybe as a motorist you should have your own points merit system that you observe once you get into your car, for example give yourself three points for using a safety belt, another three points for not using your phone at all, three points for obeying rules of the road, three points for not swearing, showing the finger and another three points for not driving in the emergency lane. When you get home total up and see how well you have done then reward yourself with the great thought and knowledge that you may have prevented an accident today.
At home people need to have a heightened sense of awareness as well. As it gets hotter and hotter, you likely to become lethargic and more careless. After cooking ensure that the stove is turned off, kitchen is floor properly wiped and dry. Emergency numbers should be clearly written and pasted where everyone can see them. Test your alarm daily if you have one, make sure that security doors are indeed locked when doors and windows are left open for cooling purposes. Most outside gates are made of steel which expands in the heat, make sure that gates actually close and do not reopen due to hitting against something.
Being inside a mall does not mean that you cannot be mugged. You need to be just as alert because criminals are also shopping alongside you. Do not be distracted by people needing assistance with buying or at the ATM, refer them to security. The mall toilets are not exactly safe so be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour and hold onto your bag. In fact carry as little cash on you as possible and if you are, prepare your route and go directly to the store to make your purchases instead of wandering around first.
You are also cautioned against leaving your children unattended as they can disappear in an instant. Do not even consider leaving them or your pet in the car whilst shopping as this is totally irresponsible, temperatures reach incredible highs that could result in loss of life. Whilst at the mall also double check that your car doors are locked before walking away.
It’s just so lovely being outdoors in summer. The parks are green and inviting to have picnics and strolls. There are park rangers for added security however keep alert and leave your jewellery at home preferably. Most of us make our way to resorts that have water slides and sparkling blue pools. Municipal pools also get crowded as schools are closed and kids need to cool off but danger is never far off. Drowning can occur very quickly so keep an eye on children even in private swimming pools. Heavy drinking and swimming just don’t go together as well even if you are a good swimmer.
The festive season is also a great time for parties, going clubbing and braais. Avoid getting into arguments and drinking excessively. This is not good for your health or your personal safety besides if you driving you put others at risk as well. Remember as a visitor or local resident you are likely to find yourself in a police road block during this period. The idea is to get home and not to jail, so have lots of fun but be responsible and respectful to fellow revelers and the law.