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I completely get what you are trying to say tertia, only a south african would get the irony behind it. We are emigrating to Ireland in April, and I have been reading the Irish papers online, and have realised how immune to crime etc we have become. ANother murder, rape, hijacking, just another day in gauteng. The one headline was that "14 people have died on Irelands road so far this year" bearing in mind they have had the coldest, snowiest january in many years, and the roads have been terrible. I think our deathtoll stood at over 600 for the festive season. Another headline was related to the horror of a dead body being found by hikers in the mountains in Dublin. How many times a day are dead bodies found in SA? So often that it is not front page news, there might be a small block a few pages in. I am glad that you guys are safe in your security estate, I hope it stays that way.

I think I get it. They are in their bubble worrying about 1998, and here we are in 2010 and something like that just happened across town 5 times yesterday?

You would laugh - our neighbors won't paint their house and I am worried they are gangsters and will spray our house with bullets.

SUCH a different perception of what is dangerous over here stateside, probably...though I don't live in a huge huge city.

We were held up in our house at 2am last november. Insurance company decided we'd let the buggers in and refused to pay.. Number 1 - when i'm retrenched even I can't organise a break in within 24 hours (which is the time frame between my issues). Number 2 - At 2am? If i'd magically organised that crap i'd tell them to do it at 4, and not to wake me up. I couldn't sleep AT ALL for 16 hours thereafter. I digress....

6 Weeks prior a car had pulled some funny shit outside my gate, and i've labelled that as an attempted hijacking. I credit my crazy pizza delivery driving for getting out of that one.

AND i'm one of the paranoid careful ones (thanks dad).. Hubby's been "hit" 6 times since we've been together. We got out alive and with minimal losses. Who should be GRATEFUL for that?! I have memories of playing in the streets, we're all to chicken to do that now..

Very sad indeed. I reckon they meant they've had 1 998 incidents since 1998 or 19.98 incidents in the estate since 2008? Is the person who typed the note not perhaps the one injured so severely they required brain surgery?
Very sad indeed!

I lived in England for 13 years, during that time my sister was indecently assaulted close to our home, we had 4 intruders and our car window was smashed twice just outside our house. Since I've been back in Cape Town (nearly 2 years) we haven't had any problems, at all.

We need to take a lesson from the 12 year old urban legend. 1) Don't leave the f-ing garage door open 2) Our beautiful country is about to be invaded by 500000 soccer crazed tourists. We need to print this up and put it next to the Gideons in every hotel (just to keep them from getting too complaicent)
3) always watch out for the youngest teenager - they are the ones most likely to need budget crippling surgery - brain or any other.

Be safe people, where ever you live, with whom or in whatever time zone, don't become a statistic if you can help it at all.

The major city that I live closest to in the US has about 650,000 people. Last year, there were 11,183 violent crimes. There were 37,470 property crimes. There are areas of the city that you simply don't wander into unless you are interested in drugs, guns or prostitution. If you aren't there for those things, then you hope you get out without being robbed, stabbed or shot. People are killed almost every day and many times they are children. The most unfortunate part is that if you travel a few miles in any direction, you will see some of the East Coast's best tourist destinations and the tourists have NO IDEA!
I am lucky enough to live in a suburb of the city that has been relatively untouched by this level of violence, but it is only about 35 miles south of me. So, yes, I understand the absurdity of this letter. I have lived in this area my whole life and it has declined so rapidly. Here in the 'burbs, we used to be able to leave doors and cars unlocked all the time. That would guarantee your house being broken into and your car stolen these days. I am not familiar with the exact numbers on crime in SA, though, sadly, I am sure it puts my city to shame (in a bad way). I hope your community remains "incident" free for another 12 years!

This is just my opinion but I do feel that in a security estate you are a bit of a sitting duck, no? I mean, to someone who is poorer than poor, they must look up at those big fancy walls and guards and think - wow, those people are clearly rich - all I need is one millionth of their wealth to feed my child for a month. Tempting I think, for someone who is desperate and living below the breadline with casual work and no steady paycheck.

Maybe they need to update their security letter. In my opinion its a pretty good track record for the area if the last incident was in 1998 but maybe that incident proved to be so horrific that it has served as the symbol of the necessity for vigilance since that time.

Steve, I believe any one of the minority of "haves", in South Africa and some other places are "sitting ducks" for the majority of have-nots. Yes, it is immoral not to look after our poor better, I believe, but we also need to police criminal activity better. Envy should not justify violence. I too was attacked in my home by armed intruders who tied us up and ransacked the house. Thankfully they left before seriously harming us. But our sense of safety is eroded. The police did not follow up even though we had good leads. This is how it is. I still struggle with whether we accept this as is or not.

Okay first of all if you live in SA you should know not to leave your garage door, or any door open for intruders. Secondly I live in a secure cluster complex, with burglar bars over our windows, and a guard not even 10 Metres from my place, 2 years ago, 3 guys broke in and shot my boyfriend 4 times, they then proceeded to stab him, break his jaw and calmly stepped over his body and left him to die, they then went next door and held up my neighbours, while they were stealing there stuff they were discussing how and when they were going to kill them...they lived to tell the tale. Crime in SA is BAD, yes crime is everywhere, the only diffrence is that in SA it is violent. We are still paying off medical bills, what makes this even worse is that even though it was an attempted murder case, which is never supposed to be closed untill solved, they closed the case 3 days later.

Your body corporate has or who ever wrote that note, need to check there facts, because they story sounds a little strange, they are reporting a crime that happened 12 yrs ago...

Uhm... that is a very funny note... I'm not even going to try and explain. You close those garage doors now you naughty naughty girl...

1998.....1998????? its the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard. Just to let your readers understand the type of country we live in..i'm inserting an email that we received last week from our community chairman "
Dear Residents,

The committee has been informed of multiple break-ins in D’Urbanvale last week. According to various sources there were at least 4 (not confirmed) the one’s the committee are aware of took place in Falcon Street and in the “Vintage” complex on the corner of Mosselbankriver & Falcon.

Please be vigilant and do not take ANYTHING for granted especially when it comes to your safety and security. Make sure gates and garage doors are closed at night. Do not leave valuables close to open windows.

Please be especially vigilant of suspicious activity or persons acting in a suspicious manner. "

hmmmm..lovely thanks for that!

I don't miss that aspect of home one bit...

And yeah, that note is really funny, in an awfully ad kind of way.

OK. In South Africa you have a 50% higher chance of being murdered than dying in a car accident. 12000 people died in car accidents last year, but 18000 people were murdered. 52 people a day. 3 weeks ago in our "security estate" we had intruders in the garden who had just climbed over 12 strands of electric fencing. 6 months ago, we had someone enter our home through a garage door, luckily we slept through it and they only took the laptop. In our house we don't see this as a serious crime at all. In my mind, the guy politely and quietly came in, took the laptop and the cash out of my wallet and left. I don't see it as more serious than a pickpocketing. Maybe that's because 18 months ago my father was shot dead in his driveway in an attempted armed robbery. When I got suspicious that it had something to do with the street my parents live in, in a very upmarket area in Johannesburg, because 2 years ago someone else was also shot dead in their street, I was told No. That is not a coincidence at all. That is commonplace.

Don't get me started on this subject. I could go on about the 7% conviction rate for murder in South Africa. About the one single detective on my Dad's case who has 110 unsolved murder cases on his desk. I could, but I won't. Instead I'll just go and check if my husband locked the backdoor when he went out just now...

I guess we are just lucky, but we have not had any crimes of any kind against us in the 10 years we have been living here. We do not live in a security estate, do not have fencing around our property, live in a supposedly "upmarket" street in a upper middle class suburb. We do lock our security gates at all times, have an alarm system and three dogs, but I believe the more things you put up to keep "them" out, the more it is seen as a challenge or meaning that you have some valuables in your home. I suppose we don't look like we have much to protect, and it has worked for us. I must also mention we live adjacent to a security estate, with 24-hour security, electric fences etc. There have been 5 incidents there in the past month. Seems to prove my point me thinks.

My friend who lives in Cape Town told me how getting involved in a crime as victim is quite common. He, himself have had a gun pointed to his head and robbed.

p.s: when i visit them, can i visit you too?

Mash, I'm so sorry about your father.

Maggie, I think you are onto something. People who advertise their wealth are always going to be targeted for property crimes.

"Envy should not justify violence..."

Is envy the right word? Nothing justifies violence but I cannot judge those who steal (not murder) when living in horrific conditions side by side with great wealth. Especially not when, generally speaking, the racial majority are the ones suffering while the racial minority enjoys such a high standard of living.

My daughter spent 5 months in Cape Town. She loved it. She had fun. She worked in a home for orphaned and abandoned girls as well as attending the University. She went out to clubs. She played in the sand dunes of Namibia and she went to Swaziland on the Jesus bus and surfed and went on a shark boat off of Cape Town.

I'm so glad this post was put up months after she got home. I worried enough while she was there but if she were there now I'd be in tears every day.

Sounds a little bit like the secured, gated estates are more of a target than student housing was, though. That's a different kind of problem

ps - daughter is planning on going back. She really loved it there.

This note reminds me of the viral emails you get about little girls who really went missing in the USA four years ago but someone changed a few details and suddenly they are from Benoni and it happened last week. I think it is the tone it was written in and the bullet points with the precise amount of tragedy you can expect. It makes me wonder how true all of it is. Also do not leave your doors open "as has been observed" is a little creepy. Did the person sign their name to it? What happened to knocking, introducing yourself and passing on friendly advice in person?

I've thought about it some more and want to add to previous comment. I've come to believe that our perceptions about crime in South Africa is very dependent on how many people we know who have been affected by it. It is almost impossible to wrap your mind around the statistics and make sense of it and you want to believe that it is not quite as bad as everybody is saying it is. I live in Pretoria and personally I know two families who have been held up at gunpoint in their homes. It made crime real for me and very scary. If someone in your neighbourhood is attacked it brings it even closer and suddenly the little calculation for keeping your family safe that you make in your head is different. So I think the motive behind the letter is not just concern for your family. We want our neighbours to be safe also so that we can feel safer.

It's funny (in a sad way) how each of us is used to, and in ways accepting of, whatever it is that we live with. I live in the States, in a neighborhood suburb of a small Mid-western city. I am just a mile or so from the shopping mall, just around the corner from a couple of larger grocery/variety stores, and yet my neighborhood is so safe that many of us DO leave our garage doors open, the children and teenagers walk the neighborhood in packs during the day, people are always out jogging or walking their dogs, and the handful of times that we've accidentally left the front or back door open when we went out, all was well when we got home - it's a lovely place to live. My best friend, who lives about a 15 minute drive away in one of the downtown neighborhoods lives in one of these 'good street, bad street' areas. Her's is a 'good street' but even so they've had a rash of break-ins lately - some while the homeowners were there sleeping, have had a robbery attempt on their property (someone tried to steal their children's jungle gym from the back yard), have had their van stolen once and broken into twice, keep their doors locked at all times, never open their windows, never walk the streets at night, etc. Totally different worlds in the same metro area. (and no, my neighborhood is NOT a 'gated community', or even a wealthy community - it's working class people, typical middle America)

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That is freaking scary. The amount of murders is astounding to me.

Wow--most of our neighbors don't even lock their doors.

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