All posts by Hugo

Record number of Farm Attacks in 2015

A record number of farm attacks occurred last year.

Afriforum and TLU SA, yesterday released their statistics for 2015 Farm and Rural attacks in South Africa.

In 2015 there were 318 farm attacks, averaging 6 per week. 64 murders, averaging 1.2 a week.  The number of farm attacks in 2015 represents an increase on the figures of 2014 by 14%. Murders jumped by 5%.  These figures are the highest since 1990.

The figures are collated from media reports and first and second-hand reports, such as those from the Security Industry and the police. Afriforum’s database on crime statistics is continuously updated.

Limpopo leads the country in the farm and rural category with 63 attacks. Gauteng leads the country with the most farm and rural murders (14).

Lorraine Claasen, a criminologist at Afriforum, said that areas adjacent neighbouring countries or adjacent densely populated settlements are at the greatest risk.

Between 1990 and 2015, there have been 1785 farm murders in South Africa. Of these 1152 were farmers, 474 were family members, 138 were farm workers and 221 were visitors.

In January of 2016 alone, there have been 26 attacks and six murders, up to double the rate from the previous year.

Ernst Roets, Executive Vice of Afriforum, said that some police stations took the problem seriously, but at a national level there is just not the political will to resolve the problem.

Thanks to The Beeld for facts in this story.

Security Sam

Crime-scene Markers

Be Aware!

A recent near-miss happened at the neighbouring Boschkop area in Pretoria East.

Andre is a sheep farmer we know.  He has several staff who work the property and also in the house.

The alert was raised when bricks, stones and small bits of hosepipe were found at the fences and in fact were marking a complete path of entry.  It appeared an intrusion was imminent.

Andre called MZT Security for assistance as he was now quite fearful that something was about to happen.

An expert in signs-reading was brought in to give guidance.  This man was able to read a lot of disturbing information into the signs, including pointers to say that the wife would be home that night and also that the householders should be attacked and killed with bricks.

Staff were then questioned and tested with a Polygraph machine and one of them failed the test.  With this knowledge, that the staff member was lying, pressure was brought to bear and a full confession was obtained.  Basically this member of staff was to receive a commission for assisting the criminals.  Three gang members were subsequently arrested.

Markers were not removed at this time, so as not to tell the watchers that suspicions were confirmed.  What is now clear is that the intruders had inside help and were also monitoring the property continuously, waiting for the moment to make their hit.

As soon as the arrests were made, all the markers disappeared overnight.  So watch out for unusual markers on your property and fences.  Don’t ignore.

Markers can take many forms.  Apart from those mentioned in the story above, thieves may use plastic sheets or plastic bags, buckets, thatch bundles, stones…almost anything handy and casual enough to be ignored.

Andre’s alert observations and call for help certainly resulted in preventing a burglary and even possibly injury or death.

Security Sam

Four Farmers In Jail After Two Intruders Killed

Parys Farm attack – January 2016

72 year-old Free State farmer Loedie van der Westhuizen was attacked around 5.00pm in the corridor of his well-secured farm home by an armed intruder on Wednesday 6th January 2016. Van der Westhuizen from the farm Bessiesbult struggled with the intruder and received severe blows to the head. With a revolver to the farmers head the attacker demanded R20,000.00.

“It was a terrible feeling. He was looking for a safe with a lot of money” said van der Westhuizen.  During the struggle the attacker called to his accomplice outside, but van der Westhuizen, although bleeding profusely was able to press the panic button and call his farm neighbour response unit. He told his attacker that help would be five minutes away.

By the time the attackers realized that they had only a few minutes before help arrived, there were 40 to 60 neighbouring farmers and townspeople on the way. These farmers came from afar as Heilbron and Koppies after receiving the call to assist van der Westhuizen.

The attackers fled through adjacent mealie fields but were cornered and confronted by the neighbour’s response group.

For several years the farmers have had an arrangement whereby they support each other in the event of farm attacks in the Parys area.

Both male intruders were injured in the confrontation and were still alive when the police took them into custody. Both were however declared dead on arrival at hospitals in Parys and Bloemfontein. As a result four members of six local farm families are now in trouble with the law and have been charged with murder.

One of those charged is Boeta, son of van der Westhuizen. “This is a terrible situation” said Annette van der Westhuizen a member of the family. “For us it is very difficult and heartbreaking” she said. She claimed that farmers live in constant fear for their lives and believe that any of them could be the next victim.

Boete van der Westhuizen spent the weekend in Jail at Parys along with three other farmers from the Parys grazing fraternity. The others were Johan Cilliers snr and his son Johan Cilliers jnr, also Anton Loggerenberg.

The four have briefed their legal advisers in the lead up to a bail application on Tuesday. Brig. Hangwani Mulaudzi spokesperson for the Hawks, said that the four had been charged with murder. The State will oppose bail.

Van der Westhuizen said he didn’t know the attackers. He lives alone just a few kilometers from the spot where Annatjie van Rooyen (76) was suffocated in her fridge in January 2013 and her husband Ernest (77) was also murdered at the time. It is also not far away from the place where the 40 year-old farmer Johan Strydom was murdered with an iron bar in 2010. He was later dragged behind his own Mazda bakkie.

Ernst Roets executive officer of Afriforum said that they had offered to pay the farmers legal costs. “The reality is that these farmers are part of the local community and live in fear and trepidation of attacks on their farms every day” he said.

Adv Christo Roberts, former snr State Advocate, who has been involved in similar cases, said that the State would have to prove that the farmers had the intention to kill the attackers. “People are terrified of farm attacks and when this happens, people will probably overreact” he said. “Judges cannot ignore this fact” he further explained.

Thanks to Rapport Newspaper for this story.

Equipment Finance

Great news!

We have managed to secure equipment finance/rental facilities through Sasfin Bank for the purchase of our security protection machinery.  We know that not many businesses have spare cash lying around to fund security upgrades, but now you have an easy solution.

Rather than you having to find the cash to upgrade your security systems and protect your family and assets, your business can simply finance the purchase over a maximum term of 60 months.  You can select a lesser term if you choose.  Saving working capital and ensuring all your rental expenses are fully tax deductible. **

We are particularly pleased that this innovation will assist farmers and rural businesses who are under siege with escalating violent crime at the moment.  Technology and easy finance options will open the door to more flexible and immediate security solutions for you.

** Applicants need to qualify and satisfy the terms and conditions of Sasfin Bank equipment finance.  Goods must be comprehensively insured.  Max term 60 months.  Document fee of R500.  We assist you with the application process but you deal direct with the bank and don’t have to reveal anything confidential to us.

 As an example:

Gert Smit of Rustenburg purchases the following security items:

  • One Auto rubber bullet machine to protect his farm or factory.
  • One Sound-blaster siren to protect his home as a panic alarm and disorientation alarm.
  • One Gunsafe alarm package incl Peppergas, Sound-blaster and gsm.  Includes basic training.  (We believe this invention alone will account for perhaps 70% reduction in farm deaths.)
  • Total equipment cost including installation, delivery and vat say R45,714.00
  • If you elect 15% annual escalation, and if you elect a 60 month repayment term, then your payments will be R800.00 monthly.  Add vat.  Easy.

Don’t delay!

How important is tracking?

We at CrimeStopSystems.com have been developing several tracking systems over the past 18 months.  Not only will you be able to track your vehicle or quadbike etc, but you will be able to send a message to disable the vehicle from your phone or laptop at any time.  In addition we have several hybrid systems in testing that allow your panic alarm to alert neighbours, police or armed response as to your exact location.

Overall, we are forced to depend on sophisticated technology to help us deal with the current crime trends.

Read this amazing story:

By way of example we want to re-tell a fabulous story about a friend of ours (lets call her Mary).  Mary lives in the Cape and is a no-nonsense person who is not scared to demand her rights.  Recently she purchased an iPad in Holland and has it fitted with “find-me” along with her iPhone.  (Find-me is standard tracking technology).

The laptop was stolen in Cape Town last week and she received a call from Holland telling her the location of her laptop in Somerset West.  She reported it to the Muizenberg police, telling them she knew where her laptop was thanks to “find-me”.  They were NOT helpful, however she ran into two detectives in the carpark and they agreed to accompany Mary on her quest to retrieve the laptop.  On the way they called in to Somerset West Police at the Strand and gathered another member of the constabulary.

Then Mary led them following the red and blue dots on her iPhone to the quarry which turned out to be a block of flats occupied by predominantly Somalian people.  She says the place was spotless, the people lovely and the food looked great too!  However everyone was shouting at the intrusion by her and the police…all in fierce denial that anything stolen could be on the property.  Very noisy she said!

However Mary persisted and assured them that she simply wanted her laptop returned and she would press no charges.  Following her phone screen like a compass, she led the cops from apartment to apartment …from cold to hot, with the Somalians shouting in the rear.  Eventually she identified a single room in the apartment, but was refused entry because the young student whose room it was, was away at school.  So Mary put the iPhone in the care of one of the detectives, who remained behind at the scene and went off to the said private school to retrieve the child out of his class!

She dragged him back to the apartment and again using the phone entered the room and triumphantly pointed to the laptop concealed under the bed.  The iPhone led her directly to the hiding place.

Turns out the kid bought the laptop on the street but under the eyes of a street camera because he was suspicious that it may be stolen. (So he says …but the cops are following up).

The leader of the Somalian group took full responsibility for the theft and Mary would not press charges as promised.  This group of people actually contribute to the young man’s education at a private local school.

Note:  The police had NO IDEA of this tracking technology.

To cap off the story…Mary took everyone to lunch including the miscreant!

Moral of the story:  Use technology appropriately and be persistent.  None of the above could have occurred if the determined public, the co-operative police and technology had not joined forces.

A great result.

Security Sam

Are we pro-active enough?

Are we proactive enough?

South Africa is in crisis in almost every corner, …especially the economy.  So what are we waiting for?

We South Africans are all guilty of waiting till something adverse happens before we take action.  We are often not pro-active.  Rather we react after the event.  We know a customer who recently thought R3000 was too much to spend on upgrading his alarm defences.  A few months later, his wife was beaten in an aggravated burglary.  Then he happily spend R32k on security upgrades!

Why is this so?  Perhaps the cost of taking preventative action is higher than we expected?  Perhaps we think that negative things only happen to others?  Whatever the reason, crime statistics and trends in our country, especially in rural and wealthy areas, are rising despite the efforts of many.

Recently-released Crime Statistics show that crime rates, especially with aggravated assault and theft have risen every year for three years.

The period of tenure under police Commissioner Riah Phiyega shows alarming increases in rates of aggravated robbery.  She has been a complete disaster.

Residential robbery, business robbery and carjacking are the most concerning upward crime trends since 1994.  It is suggested that due to improved security measures, criminals are now turning to armed assaults.  So robberies are getting more dangerous.

Our murder rate ranks alongside Colombia and El Salvador, both of which are experiencing low-intensity civil wars.  We are amongst the worst in the world.  Our murder rate is 30 times greater than countries such as Ireland or Australia!

The problem is that in South Africa there are many millions of “Have-nots”.  Some statisticians say there are 10m un-employed in SA.  That is a staggering number of people trying to survive and feed their families.  Naturally this desperation will feed into aggression, drugs, gangs and theft.

Private security firms and being forced to step in where the police are not able.  There are now more than 3 times the number of registered private security officers compared with actual police officers.  In 1997 the figures were roughly equal.  What does this tell us? …Basically we have to make our own arrangements.

Some have likened the situation to a state of war.  Whether this is completely accurate or not, the fact remains that many of us in rural areas and on South Africa’s farms, are under siege.  Almost every institution and Parastatal is in deep trouble.  The economy is in crisis.  Corruption is robbing the economy on a grand scale.  Not many people think things will get better any time soon.

Students, Unions and the EFF are emerging as strong destabilising forces for change.  In the meantime business needs to survive, farm production and food security need to be maintained.  Security must be well managed.

We must all work together.  We are all in this together.

In any intruder incident, we MUST remain in control and we must use all the technology and expertise at our disposal.

Crime Stop’s technology and advice, properly used, will help give you peace of mind and help you be in control in the event of an emergency.

We have solutions that offer non-lethal but serious deterrents, for protection of farms, schools, homes, factories and even motorists.

Don’t wait to take action. Prepare your safe environment now.

Contact CrimeStopSystems.com for more information.

Regards Security Sam

(Thanks to SA Institute of Race Relations for some data.)

Farm Attacks

Farm attacks. July 2015

In a recent Pretoria Press briefing, Farmers Union, (TAU SA) and AfriForum, presented farm attack statistics for the period 1 January to 30 June 2015.  These indicate that whilst Gauteng had been the lead Province with the majority of attacks, the trend was now towards Limpopo and KZN leading in farm attacks. Limpopo has taken the number one spot in the nation-wide rankings according to TAU SA’s Assistant General Manager for policy, Chris van Zyl. KZN previously ranked at number 5 in the rankings, but was now ranked in second place.

For the current period of 1st January to 30th June 2015, there were 27 farm murders, with an estimated 116 farm attacks. If this trend were to continue then SA would once again experience 56 to 58 farm murders annually. Similar in fact to the annual farm murder figures of the past few years. The level of violence currently being experienced is described by van Zyl as “extremely high”.

Another independent observer Kobus Visser from Agri SA described a “culture of violence in rural farming areas”.  Aggrey Mahanjana of Afasa, commented that farm murders should be a concern not only for the farming community but the country as a whole. He suggests further that farm murders will also have an impact on food production and possibly food security as a whole.

Since January 1990 South Africa has experienced a total of 1747 farm murders in 3542 farm attacks. Of these victims, 1133 were farmers, 465 were direct family members, 130 were farm workers and 19 represented visitors to farms.

TAU SA together with AfriForum are currently involved in efforts to improve farm safety, primarily implementing Farm Watches at local level. A second option is to implement technologies such as night-vision cameras.

Clearly a number of strategies need to be considered and farm communities and the police need to work hand in hand. However there has already been a lot of “blah-blah” and the crime trends continue unabated.

Farmers and communities will have to engage a multi-pronged approach.

  • Work together at all levels. Co-operation and information-sharing is essential.
  • Work with the authorities. Get their help and make them accountable. Report everything so that your data is in the national statistics. Crime trends usually get taken seriously and resources can be allocated.
  • Speak up. Use the Media and other social media platforms. Complaining around the Braai is preaching to the already-converted. Get your message out there!
  • Get technological and strategic aids to protect your family and assets. No-one is going to do it for you. Review your preparedness, train your family in panic management situations and do something right now. Don’t wait till you are forced to do something.

From our roving reporter aka Security Sam.

(Thanks to Farmers Weekly for some data.)