23 August, 2010

Crime information - Convict tells of Modus Operandi

Note from Administrator: I've copied and pasted the contents directly from the email that I received:

Greetings All:

The following is worth circulating to our Sandton community, via the Resident Associations, Sector Forums, etc.
Thank you to RAC (Residents Against Crime) !!

There was a meeting held with a convict who is spending 18 odd years for crime, ranging from housebreaking to hi-jacking, and who is currently out on parole. (with special thanks to Clr.Alison van der Molen - DA). The meeting was well represented.
In short herewith feedback which in most cases is the modus operandi with specific exclamation on particular methods used to gain access as well as some points for concern as in the mind of a criminal

• General conditions prevailing in our jails were discussed at length and it was apparent that crime is rife inside prison (drugs, alcohol, money, gangs with different specialties, etc.)
• Should you as a prisoner be “branded” by other inmates it will be common knowledge in other prisons even far removed.
• Wardens play a more important role in the activities undermining the law which are relevant mostly round holidays when senior officers are on leave.
• Whites are perceived to be affluent and have large sums of money readily available.
• White areas are targeted by criminals and perceived to be soft targets, more so than traditional black township areas.
• Criminals do the deed because of greed and not because they are hungry or deprived or any other reason.
• A good criminal can easily add R40,000 wealth in a month if he is pro-active.
• His motivation is to be seen as a competitive person who aspires to drive the latest possible car and lifestyle (hence the clothes he wears).
• Most criminals at housebreaking activities work in groups two or more. Should a lone criminal be spotted the other “hand” is inside the property to assist - Note that domestics play a more important role than what we give them credit for. (Gangs are the buzzword and work on a ‘share-all‘ basis).
• Guns are most sought after as they help achieve the devastating goals without too much of a hassle.
• Criminals are all nervous when at work and best left to proceed without resistance or face the consequences.
• Petty crimes such as cell phone theft, smashing a car window to grab a bag of valuables are mostly aimed at female drivers who are alone at the time. It is advisable to have your valuables stashed away in a boot or out of sight.
• Most criminals drive or walk the streets to plan their operation.
• A study of the location is normally undertaken for at least a week to ascertain the movements prevailing at the premises and its inhabitants.
• The following week it is back to action.
• Domestics are enticed to give information pertaining to security measures and contents to establish the degree used for the approach.
• Big Black dustbins are high on the attractive list for a criminal.
• When putting out garbage most homes have more than one Bin and often entrance is gained to the backyard/house, without a fight, once the gate is opened between bin 1 and bin 2.
• Black Bins are used to stand on to jump over the wall at best to hide in when waiting for a hit.
• Overgrown trees are a great asset for a criminal as he uses the tree to climb into and jump over your wall/security electrical fence etc.
• It was strongly advised to cut away all large trees on your parameter of the property to avoid this assistance.
• Shrubs on and outside the premises are used as a common given to hide and be readily available to take advantage from close proximity where you are most vulnerable.
• A Coke can is often used to mark the property identified and if not removed is seen to be a “safe” hit. Normally placed in your driveway entrance and monitored.
• Children as seen to be easy targets to relieve them of their expensive cell phones.
• Often criminals identify their next opportunity at shopping centre when they leave with huge trolleys of merchandise.
• They follow the incumbent home and gain entrance the easy way, through the front door!
• It is always of utmost importance to note that you are not being followed home. It is common to trace a car from a two-car gap close to its destination and then pounce.
• Most residents have gates and/or garage control.
• Do not accept that once you have closed the gate/door that you are secure, always make sure you are the only movement that has used the entrance/exit.
• Certain vehicles are higher on the priority list such as “bakkies” and 4x4’s for they have a resale value especially in places like Botswana.
• Port authorities are only too willing to assist these organized crime gangs at the border post for a share of the loot. It is not uncommon to get R400.00 for a vehicle.(Good money)
• Immobilizers are seen to be a deterrent and an electronic device is utilized to identify where the “bug” is located/removed and often put in a third car only to be dumped in a different place far away from the host vehicle.
• Should a high-jack go wrong it is a booby prize to apprehend a resident and relieve him/her of his money at gunpoint. It is firmly believed that the white population carry at least R200 on their person at any given time, so no matter what it remains a successful hit even just for R200!
• Electrical goods are high on the shopping list and flat screen TVs are easy for a takeaway on the spur of the moment. Traditional TV’s are too bulky and are less favored.
• The Nigerians were singled out as the most likely contacts to redeem your newly “acquired” assets and swap shops and Internet CafĂ© the most likely buyers for the electrical components of the days shopping.
• Service providers were singled out as a main master plan to gain entrance and knowledge of your specific situation, mostly with the help of your domestic. i.e. Electricians were especially singled out together with bogus Estate Agents, plumbers, painters, builders, tillers, carpet fitters etc. etc, etc.
• We were specifically cautioned to have your domestic in the know should you contract/employ a service person such as above of the conditions prevailing when giving access into your home otherwise count your losses.
• Domestics are seen to be most informative and are often enticed to “tell” what is happening in your home.
• An example was given that if you are accustomed to leaving money in your trouser pockets and this is recovered by your domestic a perception is given that you don’t even worry about small change (i.e. R300!) and therefore would not even miss it. This is told over at your local Spar to all interested parties but with the exception that the R300 has now grown to R300,000 (brag value).
• Ensure your domestic is on the same side of the fence as the inhabitants of the house.
• Keys were raised as an issue and most criminals will ask you for your safe’s key and are most interested in firearms and Cash.
• Keys will be sought as a first priority and special care is taken that you do not see their face for future identification. A tip was given to turn around, face the perpetrators when answering a question in this time of trauma with the intent to identify same when safe.
• It is common to see a single criminal in a car with the other participants lying down not to attract attention.
• Specific instructions when being hi-jacked and/or during a house robbery is that you show your hands and look the other way.
• Credit Card theft and withdrawals are favored by many where during a housebreaking you are relieved from your card, kept in a safe place whilst a member of the “gang” obtains your PIN no just to draw the maximum your card will allow. It is advisable not to attempt to give the incorrect PIN as this would just anger the criminal and place yourself at risk. Maybe time to reflect on limiting your daily balance available as a cash withdrawal with your Bank.
• As a rule violence is only forthcoming if the robbery is met with resistance but is an individual decision.
• Rape was discussed at length and what was very disturbing is that a would be criminal would do his “homework” before going into action and special caution was given not to be seen as easy prey, be provocative in your lifestyle and to remember that any such act requires pre-planning and the act is that of lust and is all in the brain.
• Dogs are seen to be a major deterrent amongst criminals but he will endure the barking of a dog until he (the dog) is shut up by his owner.
• If dogs are persistent in giving away the game criminals will poison the dog by feeding them poisoned chicken heads or likewise. This is particularly evident if your dog has more than one hand that feeds them (I presume that is the case in most households)
• Various methods are used to be a successful criminal.
• Notwithstanding all of the above if was stressed that the pro-active way to fight back lies within ourselves.
• Reporting incidents to the SAPS is highly recommended as criminals in general do not like policemen. The police are seen to be their enemy so embrace the situation and involve the officers of the Law.
• The matter of suspicious police was raised as a concern and the advice given if you feel your case is being unattended to is to escalate the incident with the specific officials superior.
• Noise is a further deterrent as all thieves like to operate in “safe” environments where they attract least attention. Inquisitive neighbors do not suit their actions.
• Additional lighting in and around your property is also a deterrent.
• Surveillance cameras are seen to be disturbing and have the ability to make positive identification possible after the incident. In all cases the video recorder will be located, the tape/disc removed to avoid unpleasant follow up actions.
• Alarms and especially panic buttons must be in working order to be effective and should be tested regularly, with the consent of the service provider, to ensure that when you need the reaction the equipment does not fail you!
• Not security systems, dogs, beams, cameras or whatever precautionary action is as effective as to have the entire community involved to be aware of their environment, know the people, identify irregular patterns of movement in the area and always be on the lookout for would-be criminals who are out of place.
• Community involvement and especially the meetings and action plans to combat crime which are held are well known to criminals and they heed the warning signs as an obstacle.
• Crime is a growing business and criminals, even after being caught and served time, return to their old patterns because it is lucrative, financially rewarding and assist a criminal to achieve status amongst his friends as being a successful person

After some hour and a bit there was still lots to be said and asked (time permitting) but at least we have now established that criminals must not be underestimated as they are a well organized movement and with our interjection can only be less successful in our Streets. In the past year and a half it is also apparent that we as a community may have addressed most of the techniques used but are likewise cautioned that these guys are entrepreneurs with ever changing methods to enrich and satisfy their greed.

Even just as a refresher to what has been said in the past it cannot be under emphasized that as a community we can successfully combat the criminal activities if we stand together and remain awake and aware and under no circumstances become complacent.

Kind regards
Greg Pearce
Chairman – Sector 2 Honeydew SAPS
082 442-7819
Kind Regards, RAC
Residents Against Crime - RAC ZERO TOLERANCE !
Tel: 011 704-6222 Fax: 011 322-8714 Cell: 082-458-2544
E-mails : support@rac.org.za / mikesmu@heinemann.co.za / webmaster@rac.org.za / mike@rac.org.za / raconline@telkomsa.net
Website: www.rac.org.za

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