Just when this paper was reporting a drop in crime in the Sedgefield village last edition, a new wave of break-ins began, this time in the central business district.

According to Community Orientated Policing (COP), at least six business premises have been hit in the last two weeks, one of them twice. Those suffering from the break-ins were Dolphin Stationers, Khan’s Mini-Mark (in the same block as Dolphin) German Lane, African Affair, the Eden Ambulance Building (currently being used as a storage unit for Rebuild Eden) and the Rebuild Eden Centre (old African Affair Building).

It seems fairly clear that it is the same perpetrator(s) responsible for this new bout of criminal activity, as the ‘modus operandi’ has been of the same ‘smash and grab’ nature in each incident. Using either a rock or brick, and on occasion a thick wooden fence pole, the perpetrator(s) basically smashed a hole in the glass door or window, then reached in and grabbed whatever they could. Dolphin stationers even had their till removed, whilst the owners of African Affair were unfortunate enough to be hit twice in 10 days.

COP has advised shop owners to keep any items of value away from the windows at night so that they do not make tempting targets. Alternatively such items should be covered by working passive infrared motion detectors. “Also if you have CCTV cameras, please ensure that at least one camera is monitoring your shop front and entrance or any other vulnerable areas of your business,” says COP’s Mike Hofhuis.

COP is working closely with SAPS to ensure the arrest of these perpetrators and Hofhuis believes it is only a matter of time before they are caught. Furthermore, patrols by SAPS, the Neighbourhood Watch, COP and ADT have been increased at night in the CBD area.

Sedgefield businesses are once again called to join the Business Watch group to assist in keeping the CBD safe, day and night. Group Coordinator Michael Simon explains: “It’s a way to keep in contact with one another through a closed Whatsapp chat group. This means we can keep each other aware of suspicious activity, report crime-related incidents and hopefully prevent crime from spreading.” Membership forms are available via email sedgefieldnhw@gmail.com or at the Sedgefield Tourism Office.

Please always report crime to the police (10111 or 044 343 1321) and to COP on 074 506 7242. The more information gathered, the more effective the community crime fighting efforts will be.