THIS IS A SOLID PROOF THAT CRIME DOES PAY- THE MORE CRIME IN THE COUNTRY- THE MORE CAPITAL ARE BEEN GENERATED BY SECURITY COMPANIES, CLOTHING MANUFACTURERS, WEAPON DEALERS...AND NATURALLY- THE SLEAZY REGIME TAXES!
R50bn spent on home safety
26 July 26 2010
R50 billion - that is what South Africans are spending on private security to feel secure each year.
And Gauteng, the smallest province in the country, makes up about 80 percent of that spend.
This is according to former top police officer-turned-private security expert Bushie Engelbrecht.
This spend, he said, was necessary because "the police cannot cover every inch of the country".
According to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, Gauteng has the highest number of registered private security companies operating in it - 2 667, compared to KwaZulu-Natal (the second highest) with 982.
And, depending on where you live or work in Joburg, the area could be covered by one security company or as many as 269 for the Joburg city centre.
In Joburg's elite suburbs, residents are paying up to R120 000 a month to a single security company to exclusively patrol their area and keep the criminals out.
Residents' associations across the city's leafy suburbs - from Craighall Park to Saxonwold - have been hiring these exclusive services in their areas, getting individual households to sponsor the costs by paying anything from R200 to R1 500 a month towards the services.
But what does R120 000 guarantee?
Residents get two armed guards at a time, trawling their suburb 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a large intimidating truck with lights mounted on the top, stopping and questioning loiterers.
For Melville resident Theresa Bekker, it's the intimidating type of security service that gives her some peace of mind.
"It's a lot of money to pay a single security firm, but it's worth it. I don't feel safe in Melville, but I am a bit more comfortable with a proper security service around," said Bekker.
Bekker, who has electric fencing, double locks, palisade fencing and burglar bars on her house, has been living in Melville for the past three years. She has had several incidents of crime in and around her house.
Bekker was the victim of an armed robbery, robbers have attempted to break in several times, and outside her house there has been a car theft, attempted car theft and car break-ins.
"I've had a bad experience. Last year there was an armed robbery at my house. Four armed men bashed the gate and came in and tied us up. It was nasty."
In Bekker's opinion, the police are "useless".
"I don't think highly of them. I understand that they are underpaid and not looked after, but they are not doing their job. When you call them, either they don't come or they take so long.
"I have no other alternative but to call my private security company. In an emergency, I call them before I call the police because I know they will come very soon.
I have no faith in the police."
Bekker said her private security company was "geared for action".
"In the one or two times that they have had to come after an alarm callout, they insisted on coming onto the property to check it out before leaving.
"To a certain extent I feel like I've been able to claim my suburb back. This is worth it," said Bekker.
According to a report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the ratio of private security personnel, across all categories to, uniformed police officers is about four to one.
The report showed that the private security industry as a whole has access to 80 000 vehicles, compared to the police's fleet of 37 000 vehicles.
Dr Johan Burger from the ISS maintains that with the number of police officers, there could be more-visible policing.
"Police resources are not always well managed. We don't have visibility and a good response time, and that has left a gap for private security to fill," he said.
Ricky Croock, the MD of private security company CSS Tactical, said that while their services seemed expensive, "it includes good salaries to the guards so that they have pride in their jobs".
At least 15 residents' associations in Joburg were contracting CSS' services at prices ranging from about R500 to R600 a household for a proactive vehicle, to R900 per household for both the armed response services and proactive vehicles. Similar services are offered by companies like Core Tactical and 24/7.
High-profile neighbourhood security initiative CAP (Community Active Patrol) contracts services in 13 areas. Although CAP is a non-profit organisation that relies on donations, residents in their areas contribute anything from R200 to R1 500 a month.