Crime seems the common denominator in this city.
I once lived next door to a family for six months without ever seeing them, until finally the woman dropped by to tell us their house had been burgled. We had a real nice chat. I bet a lot of GC socialising occurs this way.
“Hi! We’re the Modises! We’ve lived next door for 14 years! Somebody just stole our TV and laptops!”
“Nice to meet you! We’re the Jankeys! My son here was recently mugged!”
That was the only time I ever talked to that particular neighbour. She was nicely exasperated by the surname Jankey though she tried to hide it.
It cannot be easy to distinguish between Jankey and junkie especially because a groggy friend just ambled into the living room red eyes and all looking like he had just sniffed a bucket of cocaine.
I actually felt for her but I let her stew over it and figure it out for herself.
Crime has actually taken a totally different dimension in GC and when you meet people from other towns and you introduce yourself as such there’s a real possibility that they would stick their hands up or hide their purses.
Intrusive crime just seems to be on an upward trajectory and we have successively bumped up security around the home. In the 80s criminals were somehow petrified of fences and so it was easy to ward them off using a diamond mesh and a chained gate.
As they got more complicated and their guts levels increased a notch they then started untangling the chain to get access.
This was sometimes coupled with dogs and signs like ‘Dangerous Dog. Beware’. My wife tried that at one point. Our dogs, who are really not dangerous, just stupid, sometimes sniff the sign curiously, as if thinking ‘Dangerous!? Us?’ Well their cover was blown off one day when the maid forgot to close the gate
After a few salary reviews a third of the population could afford brick walls and that became the next security barricade but the criminals enrolled in all sorts of gyms that were perhaps using the Spiderman curriculum and became adept at scaling walls.
Then came the electric fence. This was supposed to be the security to end all securities.
If you so much as put a finger on that fence it would run electricity large enough to light up Modipane.
It somehow put the brakes on a few burglar careers.
After all who wants to be roasted like lamb chops on a grill?
Criminals are very cunning and smart. As these developments kept getting amplified and made their vocations more difficult they did not rest.
They planned. They schemed. They benchmarked with counterparts from neighbouring countries. One day they found a way to breach the electric fence without getting roasted. So we had to move onto the next one.
We are now at CCTV cameras. These, unlike the electric fence, will not kill you but will record an image of you if you are not wearing a balaclava.
The clarity of these cameras is hugely suspect and you might one day have to explain yourself off to the law authorities after the camera had mistaken you for a criminal thanks to a blurry and grainy image.
Most of population is trudging towards the CCTV cameras. Budgets are holding us back. Covid-19 is holding us back. Conservative spouses are holding us back.
This entire security infrastructure also doubles also as a filter to separate the haves and have-nots.
So you can clearly tell who is employed, who is unemployed, who operates an SMME, the entrepreneurs, the tenderpreneurs just by looking at the security features around the home.
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