18 October 2008

The urban prison

Sitting out on our front porch - in what is essentially my urban prison - this afternoon, got me wondering about the where our society is headed (At least the bars are more picturesque than those of the real prisons).

Today one cannot leave security to chance. Crime has reached epidemic proportions in South Africa, with daily reports in the papers of armed house robberies, muggings, murders, rapes, hijackings, drug and human trafficking etc, etc, etc.

We have become very involved in the Richmond Hill Sector Crime Forum, which is taking a strong stand against crime. One area of involvement is the neighbourhood watch, where were patrol the area and observe what is happening. We have been propositioned by pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers. We have seen prostitutes being picked up and drug deals going down. We have observed the drug runners making deliveries. We have come across parked cars with local citizens having it off with prostitutes (I wonder what their wives would say about that?).

We have also made these people very uncomfortable with our patrols and many speed off when they see our cars coming. But we are persistent and record their details, which in turn get passed on to the police for investigation.

Our attitude now is zero tolerance for crime. If we see it we report it, no matter how minor. In the past month I have phoned 10111 (South African equivalent of 911) about six times.

There are still daily reports of crime, but the good news is that that the crime statistics for our area have shown a decline. But then crime should not be viewed in terms of numbers. This is happpening to real people, it is their lives we are talking about, so even one crime is to much.


Katney said...

Good for you, Max, for taking a stand--an active one. If everyone would take a stand, they would have no place to perpetrate their nonsense.

Firefly said...

The sooner the people of the city all start to stand together, the sooner we will run the criminals out of OUR town.

Claire said...

so good to meet fellow south african bloggers! your photography is beautiful!

Eleanor said...

Since our own little community got together here in Brooklyn, Pretoria in December 2006 and canvassed door to door for our security system (guards on bikes and not one of the big Security companies either) the most serious incidents on our weekly report are gates left open, vagrants and alarms going off. And this is Gauteng! So it can be done! I always enjoy your lovely photos of PE. In fact, I want to get down to the Eastern Cape sometime and explore your world.

Rose said...

Who was it said something like all that is required for evil to win is for good men to do nothing? Not the exact words, but you know what I mean.

So what you are doing is definitely a step in the right direction.

Poetikat said...

Eleanor sent me and I'm so glad I came! What an amazing, gorgeous and informative blog you have created!

I will be following you from now on.


P.S. I love warthogs.

photowannabe said...

Bravo for you Max. Concerned, caring and brave people is what it takes to stop the violence.

Nola @ Alamo North said...

Hello, I've just come over from Thatchwick Cottage to have a look around. I love the photo with the kitty on guard duty!

Jeanne said...

Great photo but as you say, sad that it is even necessary. I have just got back from a trip to the USA and in average Midwest towns, you simply don't see a wall or burglar bars. It really is eye-opening when you hear people sayig in SA "oh well, crime is bad all over, it's not just here".

And well done to you and your neighbours on getting involved in doing something about crime. Zero tolerance worked for New York, now if only we can get the SAPS to agree... And although I know there is an argument to be made for the fact that we pay taxes and therefore it is the State's responsibility to protect us form crime, the bottom line is that we are living in an abnormal situation, and sitting back and complaning about the State's ineffectiveness solves nothing. Everybody needs to start watching out for everybody else, rather than just saying "oh well, those guys are climbing over somebody else's garden wall, not mine, so not my problem. It's everybody's problem!