My wife and I live in Cape Town and are selling our house with a view to moving to Plettenberg Bay, where we hope to buy a house and retire.
However, we have recently been advised that the crime rate has gone up in Plettenberg Bay and it is becoming rather untenable. We, obviously, do not want to move there and find the crime stories true.
So basically, as somebody in the know, could CXPRESS fill us in on the situation there, please? Is the crime any worse than elsewhere in South Africa?
We lived in Johannesburg years ago and experienced a break in. In Cape Town, we have had our car broken into twice - is it any worse there?
I hope you do not mind me writing to you as I thought it would be good to get the story from the horse’s mouth.
Thank you very much in advance.
John Irvine, Cape Town
CXPRESS forwarded John’s query to Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association (PBCPA) chairman Bruce Richardson, who furnished us with the following response:
Good day John, your email to CXPRESS has been referred to me for reply in my capacity as chairman of the Plettenberg Bay Crime Prevention Association. I am not sure where you have received your information from but it could not be further from the truth.
Plettenberg Bay is certainly the only town in South Africa (and possibly in the world) that has succeeded in reducing crime by approximately 60% over the past seven-year period, and is consequently the safest town in the country, with very low crime rates and hardly any violent incidents. What crime we do have is largely of a petty nature.
Women and children wander and cycle in our streets freely and safely even late into the evening. Having been involved in crime prevention in the town for about 14 years, I do not recall an incident that caused sufficient concern for us to recommend that they do not do so.
That said, we obviously urge all our residents to follow the recommended internationally accepted crime prevention protocols to avoid becoming victims of crime. Complacency and crime prevention never go hand in hand.
Although our overall crime rate has been down over the lockdown period, we have had a nagging problem with the criminal element trying to take advantage of the fact that our active neighbourhood watches have been prevented from carrying out their normal patrols and activities by the lockdown regulations.
This has resulted in more activity than normal around the town, but most of this activity has not translated into actual criminal incidents. Now that neighbourhood watches are back on the streets, we expect things to return to normal.
You may be wondering as to how we have achieved these extraordinary results, so I will give you a brief rundown of who and what the PBCPA is.
The PBCPA was formed about nine years ago and comprises the police, Municipal Law Enforcement, emergency and medical services, a number of participating security companies, and our particularly active neighbourhood watch groups across the region, working together under a single highly interactive banner.
The PBCPA has its own control room which is efficiently staffed 24/7 by competent personnel - the contact number is 082 251 8134. I strongly suggest that you enter that number on your cellphone in anticipation of your move to Plett.
List it as ‘AAPBCPA’ so that it is the first item that comes up under your contacts should you face an emergency, or are concerned about some suspicious behaviour in your area.
Calling that number and requesting help will result in the closest operative among the above group of organisations being despatched to your point of need. Depending on your location, help will arrive within a period of less than 3 minutes - probably a world-record beating response time, too.
The number can also be used to call for medical help or other emergencies as the PBCPA is a highly interactive networked organisation. The performance of the security operatives working under the PBCPA is nothing short of extraordinary, as you will come to appreciate once you are living in our town.
Efficient, prompt, easily-accessible and effective help at the touch of a cellphone button has become very much part of our lifestyle here, and does much to promote our wonderful “Plett - it’s a Feeling” mantra.
The PBCPA has a fully trained and armed tactical reaction group operating under Plett Security (one of the participating organisations); a bulletproof vehicle to transport the tactical team, an armoured vehicle able to enter areas in which civil disorder is taking place, a military grade infra-red camera, a sophisticated drone with both infra-red night vision camera and laser-pointing technology, and many other resources.
Although we do not have all areas covered as yet, CCTV is widely used with feeds into the PBCPA control room. All these attributes are offered at no cost to members, but we do request voluntary financial support, as it is an expensive exercise to maintain all these resources.
Upon arrival in Plett, I suggest you register with the neighbourhood watch responsible for your particular area. They will place you on an interactive WhatsApp group, which will enable you to keep track of all activity in your area and call for assistance when required.
All you need to do is email your name, cellphone number, residential address, and the name of the security company (if any) that takes care of your premises to firstname.lastname@example.org and shortly thereafter the relevant WhatsApp group will come up on your phone.
I trust you will now understand that we were somewhat surprised to receive your email. Plett is simply not a good place for criminals to operate in!
If I can at any time be of additional assistance to you, please do not hesitate to give me a call on 076 956 9165. We look forward to welcoming you to our town.