So there you are, multi-tasking like the overworked crisis averter you are. You’ve just gotten off your latest very important call (OK, fine, it was spam, you never should have answered) and you slip your phone into your back pocket, as one does when one has pockets (any sundress wearers reading this are currently glaring at their screens).
Anyway, next thing you know, your pocket is suddenly feeling lighter and you are no longer the proud owner of a cellphone. The shock. The horror. How ever will you answer your spam calls now?
Sadly, most South Africans can relate to this sort of story, in a ‘been there, experienced that’ sort of way. It’s why we are pretty confident in the following play-by-play of your internal monologue:
- *Expletive* my phone!
- *Expletive* my photographs!
- I should report this…
- But why bother? It’s just a petty theft. Not a REAL crime.
- I’m gonna have to get a new phone now.
- *Gasp* did I back everything up to the cloud?! *Expletive*
- *Sigh* yeah, no, I’m not gonna report this. I don’t have the time anyway.
- *Expletive* my photographs… (you’ll be stuck on this one for a while, we know).
Context In Numbers
According to the 2019/2020 South African Crime Stats, theft of personal property is the most common crime experienced by individuals here, with an estimated 1.1 million incidents occurring in an annual period. To put this stat into context, that is 2.2% of our population.
And please hold the phone (if you still have one – ba dum tss!) while we hit you with one more important figure – only about 38% of individuals who experienced crime of this nature, reported it to the police. Big yikes.
Why We Don’t Like Reporting A Crime
These days, big time crime like hijackings, home burglaries and robberies are considered a part of the deal when it comes to living in SA (we all know someone, right?) so much so, that opportunistic crime like having your bag snatched, your car window smashed, or your chap-stick grabbed feels trivial and inconsequential by comparison. That’s why, when something bad happens we know you are already auto-filling a list in your head of all the reasons why NOT to report the crime, things like:
- I don’t have time to go to the police station and stand in a queue to give a statement (this is valid btw and we totally get it. But we’re going to need you to bite the bullet – proverbially speaking, of course).
- It’s just an (insert stolen thing). And it’s not like they’ll be able to get it back for me anyway.
- I just want this to be over with and to carry on with my life.
- I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with something so trivial.
- I don’t want to have to go to court.
Why We Really, Really Should
Looking at the above, we can appreciate that reporting a crime seems, quite frankly, like more trouble than it’s worth. However, and we’re going to be quite blunt here, you are very, entirely, completely and absolutely unequivocally wrong. Here’s why:
- If you don’t do the time (of reporting the crime), the bad guys won’t either. And that’s just not right or fair. Especially because they have your phone and your photos (which, yes, you forgot to back up to the cloud).
- All crime is serious. And things can escalate, as criminals get more brazen and confident in their abilities (with no recourse coming their way).
- Your report could be a critical link between other similar cases, thereby resulting in an arrest.
- By reporting a crime you increase your personal safety (you or your family may be a target otherwise.)
- It increases the safety of your community and protects it against future crime from the same perpetrator(s).
- This one is super important (and it follows on from the point above). It helps with establishing crime trends (so we can find and counter hotspots). This in turn helps with resource allocation. i.e. more feet on the ground or vehicles can be provided for a given area if its incidents are higher than others.
- It helps law enforcement understand motives and determine the modus operandi of criminals.
- It makes it possible to make an insurance claim for damaged or stolen property.
- It helps law enforcement teams and private security companies like us, to be proactive. Giving us the opportunity to follow up on leads.
So, instead of noping out of the whole debacle, please head to your nearest police station to open a case instead. Honestly, it’s not as tedious as you think (okay fine, it’s a little tedious, but as the above list attests, it’s worth it).
‘Find My’ Could Find Them
Just a side note before we go… if your phone is stolen, please call your private security company (yes we’re aware, that may be tricky given the circumstances) as fast as possible. At Marshall Security we have managed to apprehend a number of suspects thanks to ‘Find My’ and other tracking apps. You never know, you may get your phone back… but more importantly (sorry, we’re just being honest here – even though we know your photos are important) we could get the bad guy. It’s happened before. Multiple times.
In addition, if something else is stolen, or any other criminal incident takes place, please call us, In Case of Anything. We take an active interest in the communities we serve, and with updated crime trends (thanks to you reporting a crime), and hot spots, we can be more proactive in keeping you safer. That’s what we’re here to do after all.