Vigilantes in the suburbs


Private guard Sifiso Nkosi. Photo: Koko Bassey

Cognisant of the changing face of crime, Nkosi recalls how in days gone by, “it was smash-and-grab, these days, criminals use tricks … They ask favours or ask for directions and they don’t look like the way criminals used to look. The people robbing today are decent, well-dressed people. They drive good cars and have women with them in their cars, old women, young girls, even children. They use children as young as nine or 10 to grab phones and run away. Cellphones make matters much worse.”

Or better, at least for those criminals whose modus operandi is aided and abetted by technology.

“Crime has become much more sophisticated since the advent of the cellphone,” Grobler explains. “The days of accomplices waiting outside a house in an old jalopy are over. Today’s hijackers aren’t distinguishable any more. They look good, they’re well-dressed, well-spoken, educated and drive expensive cars. They drop a spotter in a suburb to check out what’s happening, he phones his buddies, tells them where to go and they phone to be picked up after they’ve finished their job.”

Read senior journalist, Carolyn Raphaely’s article on the evolution of crime in Westedene as it appeared in City Press, here.



About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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