PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - Plettenberg Bay crime fighters say there was a "radical" increase in burglaries in the town during the recent riots that plagued the area.
Plett Watch's Lisa Nagel said they believe it was due to criminals using the chaos for their gain.
"It would appear that criminals are taking the opportunity to break in while security and police are attending to the riots," Nagel said.
She urged residents to do their bit in an effort to prevent further incidents. "As this has the potential to affect all of us, we request that anyone and everyone who is able to do patrols in your area, to do so. If you notice anything suspicious, please let authorities know. We need to take responsibility for our areas while the authorities are otherwise occupied. Let's show the country that we can protect our own beautiful town even during unrest."
Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association (PBCPA) operations head Otto Olivier said over and above the increase in crime during the riots, the action had brought damage to the town's image which negatively affects tourism – the town's main economic driver.
"We as a community, security and emergency stakeholders have been working hand in hand towards a safer and crime-free Plettenberg Bay. Since 2010 crime statistics have reduced dramatically, making Plettenberg Bay one on the safest holiday destinations. The Plettenberg Bay brand attracted visitors from far and wide; our town has grown from a pristine village to a vibrant holiday destination," Olivier said.
The recent riots have however tarnished that image, he said, and undermined the progress made over the past decade. "Unfortunately the adverse impact of the ongoing riots over the past months has already started having a ripple effect on various businesses, mostly on our main income stream – tourism. The July holidays shows a decrease in visitors, some visitors departed earlier when the wave of criminality and destruction hit our businesses last week. The social media news of the looting, destruction of businesses and other crimes spread like wildfire. The death of four people, severe injuries to others were broadcast on national TV."
It is therefore of utmost importance to re-evaluate safety and security, Olivier said, adding, "One of the reasons being that people with criminal intent are very inventive and are opportunists of note. Human nature is to trust and believe in the greater good of the human kind, but we live in a time where provision must be made to expect the worst and hope for the best.
"It is very sad fact that intimidation, riots, destruction and looting have become the negotiation leverage in all service delivery protest actions, therefore we must be extra vigilant, alert and crime wise."
'We bring you the latest Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route news'