Power blackouts spark crime fears

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

While business owners in Kwazulu-Natal continue to feel the ongoing effects of load shedding, police yesterday were quick to allay growing fears that criminals are capitalising on the frequent blackouts.

Police spokesman Jay Naicker said there was no drastic increase in crime levels because of the load shedding.

"Police are continuing with their normal operations. We have had no major increase in crime since the load shedding started."

He said the number of officers deployed in the field had not been increased since the blackouts started.

"It is not true that our officers are being stretched to the limit as suggested by some. We want to assure the public that there is no crisis."

However, Naicker advised the public to take safety precautions when power outages occurred.

He also said it was normal for the police to increase the number of officers in the field at weekends and during holidays.

In response to concerns that alarm companies were also affected by the blackouts, Alison Bull, spokesman for Chubb Security, said their clients had not had major setbacks.

"The shutdowns have not had a big impact on our systems.

"Our alarm systems are fully protected with a back-up battery and our clients are always advised to check their alarm batteries and charge them after some months."

Bull said there were no unusual alerts since the blackouts started. But she advised clients to be more vigilant when they approached the gates to their homes at night.