Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What can you do??

My flatmate was mugged last night.
In the basement of our apartment block.

She got out of her car, was walking through the small parking lot, to the foyer and elevator, and some dumbass guy jumped out from behind a pillar, pretending to have a gun in his pocket (who knows, maybe he actually did). He told her to shut up or he’d kill her.
He didn’t grab her bag and run. Rather he made her tip it out and sort through it.
He took her camera, phone, cash & atm card. He left her house keys, car keys and such things as her credit card.
He made her give him her atm card code. And repeat it several times. And told her if it was the wrong one he’d kill her. Obviously it was the wrong made-up one.
He patted her down and ran out.

Our caretaker was a bastard to her, and barely helped her out. Finally he let her use the phone to call 10111. She phoned 10111 (national emergency police number) 3 to 4 times. No one answered. She finally phoned people who phoned her parents in the Cape who phoned me in a pub and asked me to go back to the flat.

I then phoned the local police station. PLEASE NOTE: The local Police Station is literally one block away from our front door. The first call went unanswered. The second call was answered, but I almost wished it wasn’t.

“Hi. My flatmate has just been mugged in **** street”.
(Angry tone) “SO WHY IS SHE NOT HERE??”
“Because she is terrified. Listen. We live in that street. She will report it tomorrow morning. We just want you to check out the area now and keep an eye on our block tonight and for a few more days”.
(Angry irritated couldn’t-care-less tone) “WHAT???”
Repeat slowly in new wording
“Listen, phone 10111”.
“Yes, well, we have. They are not answering. Look. I am not asking you to come here now and do an investigation. We do not feel safe and would appreciate if you could realise that there are guys mugging in the area, in our flat basement, and we would like you to watch this area for awhile”.
“Jaaaa, whatever, sure”.
“Thanks, and your name is??”
“Gulp. Its Lieutenant ***.”
“Thanks. Good night.

Ja right.
He did not even ask if she was hurt. If he could immediately rush over. How he could help. Nothing. He definitely did not inspire confidence or trust.

This morning we found out that some guy (the same guy or a friend?) stuck a pole through our ground floor neighbour’s bedroom window last night, got a hold of her bag, and stole some of her cards and all her and her flatmate’s keys (for the flat, the apartment block, cars etc. )

I get home anytime of night between 7pm and 6am. Alone. What exactly am I supposed to do?? Not go back to my flat in the dark hours? Not leave the flat during dark hours? Come home with my flatmate every time or ask her to meet me when I arrive home (or vice versa) …no wait, she’s a female too, he’d hold us both up. Ask the cops to escort me home? Ja right. Have 10111 on speed dial? Ha Ha Ha – sob.

We actually do not know. We both are clueless.

In the meantime I will be tracking down the complaints’ line number that apparently you can call to say 10111 doesn’t help you. (That’s how bad they’ve become!)
And email my Ward Councillor to complain about 10111, my local police, and the escalating crime in the area. And hope he reacts.
I asked my landlady what she will do and she said “finally get the gate fixed and I most certainly am not paying that last gate guy. He obviously never fixed it from opening on its own”. Thanks. I think. And how about a security guard on the premises? “But there are too many entrances to watch and he’d probably get mugged anyway if he doesn’t get bribed and so just turn a blind eye to it”.

What can you do?


Anonymous said...

How awful Champs. Sorry to hear about that. Last time I phoned a police station, it was with a noise complaint and they couldn't be bothered. Sounds like they treated the mugging in the same way as a trivial noise complaint. Assholes. Please complain. And also get hold of your local newspaper as apparently the police hate negative publicity. Also - the metro police tend to be better than the normal police or 10111.

Anonymous said...

You should realise that living in joburg classifies as an extreme sport. As chicks you both pretty easy targets. I think you'll both have to start taking more precautions when you enter/exit your car etc. Panic Button? Maybe get a mace gun or something. They look like real little pistols.

Peas on Toast said...

Fuck that's very dodgy and scary.

I would've punched yoru security guard. Ours is equally as incompetent. He's basically seen two of my mates cars being stolen in front of his eyes.

I try to bribe him with hot meals sometimes, but he still favours the bad.

This story pisses me off.

Revolving Credit said...

Sounds fucked up, get a dog.

Hangover. Later.

Champagne Heathen said...

Jam - They def. could not have been bothered with news of a mugging and that there was a chance they might have to leave the station for something "minor".

Thanks for those tips. I'll def. follow up on them. What with all recent blog banter about how we need to be less apathetic, I am going to experiment with this & see how far using the normal channels of assistance gets me.

CHC - Apparently the danger pay for foreigners living in Jozi is pretty sweet even!!
Luckily we move out of this area in 2 months. I actually should buy another mace spray. Stun guns make me nervous tho that they guy will end up using it on you.

Peas - we don't even have a security guy in our apartment block. Too expensive for our stingy landlady.
The gate guy I refered to was some slacker electrician who's been trying to fix our electric gate for ages.

It pisses me off too. And makes my head hurt.

And speaking about heads hurting...Rev, what kind of behaviour is that to get you through a whole week!?!? Buy ginger beer.

And me and a dog?!?!? I feel sorry for the hypothetical dog already. Plus we aren't allowed dogs in the flats anyway. Plus I can't take him drinking with me.

Revolving Credit said...

Tequila Tuesday..

You shouldn't get a dog, the block should get a dog that is fucking huge, scary and lives in the parking lot.

Champagne Heathen said...

And that might solve the problems when neighbours are too noisy. Just unleash the dog into their flat.

fly said...

Same thing happened in my complex about 2 months ago...tho the girl in question started screaming...I thought someone had been murdered....luckily not...

They called the cops and......they actually arrived ?! anyways you cant be too careful....get a zapper or just may be the thing that saves your life...

As soon as my flatmate moved in I bought her mace ;o) if you are going to be running around in the middle of the night its'll probably find that the guy was intending to break into a car or something, was suprised and just went for the better opportunity....

Im sorry to hear about your flatmate champs....hope she is alright....

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your flatmate. Horrible experience and know the feeling :-(

I've taken to carrying pepper spray on my person. It might not stop the actual mugging, but the bastard is damn-well going to be blind and choking for a few nasty minutes of his life (provided I aim it at him and not me, which I am very nervous of doing)

TwoFlower said...

i'm so sorry to hear about your flatmate but at least she wasn't hurt (i know, the same cliche that gets way too over-used in SA)...

its a scary thought that you come home late and who knows - the worst is coming home slightly inebriated and your cautious attitude generally goes out the window...think its time for me to take up some kung-fu or something again!

Revolving Credit said...

Why not get some nigerian drug lords to move into your block, them nobody will fuck around on their turf.

Champagne Heathen said...

Fly - mace is def. seeming like more & more of a decent idea. She's ok. Just shaken I think. I don't think she's registered it properly yet.

Koekie - We'll go for mace weilding classes together!! My worry is more about my reaction time and just being able to find the damn thing in time!!

2F - Yes, we all think & say just that - at least she wasn't punched or raped or murdered. But that should show how sick & ridiculous the situation has become! And how desensitised we are to it!!

And for me, it's scarier to think about what would happen when I come home far more than slightly inebrihated! Like after Fri night, where I ended up sleeping in my car which was parked in that basement!!

Rev - and I don't need to feed or walk a Nigerian!! Better idea. Now let me go and patrol my streets for 1 big MoFo smiling scary Nigerian & be all sweet like and convince him to move in w my neighbours.

Revolving Credit said...

Get the nigerian to sleep in your car, that should keep it safe and possibly freak out your neighbors.

Champagne Heathen said...

I think that would freak me out more actually! Every morning, half asleep & stumbling to my car, only to be greeted to some smiling massive Nigerian guy in his pjs, dealing drugs from my passenger seat!

m said...

or start carrying an AK47 casually slung over your shoulder. We did that in DRC before it became DRC during the two most miserable weeks of my life. Worked like a charm.

Champagne Heathen said...

Montchan, I am really hoping it is not coming to that!! Although after a recent Mail & Guardian article, apparently I only need about R1000 and a lot of khutzspa (sp?).

Just the other day I saw some guy in jeans stroll past me with an AK casually slung over his should. I was really really hoping he was some "undercover' security guy, but I didn't feel like sticking around to find out.

Cookie Monster said...

Digrace the police have become.... Its just a lack of caring, then again,,,we just continue to tolerate.. wonder who pays that "lietenants" salary"? Hope you feeling better Champs

Cookie Monster said...

Now if the police spelt like me we would be in civil war, oh wait we are in a civil war with the criminals

Champagne Heathen said...

Ha Ha! It's enjoyable spelling at least. I wish there was a war against the criminals. It sometimes seems we're just handing our lives & freedom over without a fight.

I got home alone around 11.30 last night to a broken & wide open driveway gate. Boy, it was fun getting out of that car & into my flat!! Nothing like some adrenalin before bedtime!

Anonymous said...

Hi Champers, thought you'd be interested to know that John Robbie's show on Monday showcased dissatisfaction with 10111 service.

Numbers for 10111 complaints:
-Vaal 011 986 8136
-Soweto 011 986 0858
-North/East Rand 011 747 3209
-West Rand 011 951 1160
-JHB 011 248 1000
-PTA 012 301 8812
Guest: Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo
Organisation: Gauteng SAPS


Champagne Heathen said...

Koekie - Excellent!! Thank you!! I will call them today and post about this soon.