So… you thought that maybe someone was following you home. You dodged and weaved a bit (you’ve watched The Fast And The Furious 1 through 27, thank you very much) and shook them off a couple roads back. What a relief. Time to carry on with your night, right? How about no.
Here’s another one. You’re at your local store picking up dinner (we’ll keep the chocolate you ate in the car before getting home between us), and someone bumps into you, says sorry and carries on. Your bag feels a little lighter now. Hmmm. Is that your phone gone? Again. Dammit.
You’re trying to find your ticket in the parking lot, and you witness a car reverse into the back of a stationary one. The driver pauses, contemplates their options, then hit the gas and gets out of dodge stat, all while you were standing there pulling the *grimace emoji face*. Dude, that was a hit and run you just witnessed, AKA a crime. Do you realise that?
Last one. You go to fetch your handbag off the kitchen table where you are absolutely certain you left it, but it’s not there. The door is open though. Strange that. You poke your head outside and see the back of someone disappearing over your fence. Wonderful. After your heart rate returns to vaguely normal, your over-riding thought is, ‘I’m so lucky that was ALL that happened’. Especially since you had left the door unlocked. Except you aren’t lucky. And that wasn’t just theft either, it was trespassing, and housebreaking. Like, three crimes in one.
These sorts of situations feel like par for the course these days, and we often write them off as exactly that. But, if your programming tells you, ‘that could have been worse,’ making you grateful for the bad thing that just happened, it’s probably time to re-evaluate some things. Because a crime is a crime and it should be treated (and reported) as such, not just marked off as a minor inconvenience and relegated to braai side story time.
Reporting… Because It’s Duty
We know it feels like a hack heading to a police station to chat about the ‘mysterious case of the stolen cellphone’ and we can appreciate that the likelihood of you ever getting that thing back is vanishingly small anyway, but here’s the thing – reporting crime reduces crime. It has a positive impact on the community and a negative impact on the bad guy, we’ll get to how and why in a minute.
Why YOU don’t think you should bother:
- No faith in the system. It seems broken (this is valid criticism, as it’s not functioning at its optimum right now – but as citizens, we’re also not helping it do what it is designed to do, by withholding information).
- The overall inconvenience of having to deal with governmental institutions.
- If your bag or wallet has been stolen, you already have to waste time getting new bank cards (and new ID photos for your driver’s license… now that’s traumatic). You don’t have time to do this, too.
- You just want to forget about this experience and all your lost photos and move on.
- You’re fairly certain someone else saw it and will report it.
- The nature of the crime – you think you’re wasting people’s time by reporting something small, when they could and should be focused on bigger things.
- No faith in the courts. And you may have to go there and testify too. *shudders*
Why WE think you should
AKA 11 reasons why we’re making a case for you opening a case:
- Reporting crime helps the SAPS to create a database, which in turn assists them and private security companies like ours in doing their jobs better and making more arrests.
- A crime reported quickly could provide vital data like fingerprints, or form a critical link to past or future incidents, aiding in building a case against a suspect and bringing them to justice. If not for you now, then for someone else in future.
- By reporting vehicles and registration numbers, cars can be tracked down across the country for searches and intercepts. License plate recognition cameras are pretty cool like that.
- It aids in investigations as the information supplied becomes intelligence.
- Petty criminals often become repeat offenders, but more than this, their crimes often become worse too. Help us catch it before it escalates because it has the potential to hurt somebody.
- If it isn’t reported, crime statistics won’t be accurate, and this means that resources won’t be allocated as necessary – because in short, resources go where the need is determined to be greatest.
- If more resources are deployed to your community or area because of information you provided, it aids in making it safer overall.
- It helps to point out hotspots and determine trends.
- Reporting assists security role players in seeing patterns of criminal activity and behavior.
- On a personal (and practical level), it’s going to help with your insurance claim.
- If you are dealing with residual trauma from the incident, you can get the help and support you need.
In short, if you have found yourself a victim of a crime, petty or otherwise, you may feel like things are a bit out of your control. The good news is that reporting it assists you in taking that control back.
So, share the details of your incident on your local community WhatsApp group and with your private security company, so that they are aware of suspicious vehicles, activities, incidents and the like. Then it’s time to head to your nearest police station, to get your case number.
We also feel like this may be a good time to remind you that if something bad goes down, you can call us too, because whether the crime is big or small, whether you are annoyed, embarrassed, or freaking the F out, we will come racing in your direction to help, that’s what we do. In Case of Anything.