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Johannesburg residents and visitors will see a sharp rise in law enforcement, police visibility, roadblocks, stop-and-search operations, drug and alcohol screening as well as education and awareness campaigns on the roads and in open spaces over the festive season.

This was said by Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Councillor Sello Lemao during the launch of the City’s festive season public safety campaign at the weekend.

Spearheaded by Public Safety comprising of both the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and the Emergency Management Services (EMS), the zero-tolerance campaign is aimed at further reducing road fatalities and injuries during the festive season.

MMC Lemao said last year’s campaign was highly successful, with road deaths declining by 4% and emergency incidents and injuries also showing a significant drop.

He attributed this success largely to increased public education, residents’ involvement and tough law enforcement. This year, more than 1 300 children were trained on scholar patrol and road safety. “A resilient city is one in which citizens are educated, engaged, participative and self-contained. As you travel the byways and the highways of Johannesburg, please be considerate to other road users,” said MMC Lemao.

He said the JMPD, EMS and the South African Police Service “will inculcate a culture of responsibility through education and reinforcement at home, on the roads and during events or leisure activities”.

The MMC encouraged the public to assist law enforcement agencies to identify hotspots and new trends and activities. “Our safety is a collective responsibility. Help us to be better prepared and aware by alerting us. We are currently facing high incidences of smash-and-grabs. Help us to identify where and when these incidents are taking place so we can become proactive instead of reactive,” he said.

MMC Lemao also announced that the Department of Public Safety had this year acquired a new EMS fleet, filled critical high-level vacancies and added more manpower to the JMPD to ensure the safety of residents. He added that the department was also in the process of finalising the procurement of a new JMPD fleet to better service all the wards.

JMPD spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said there would be special operations at busy malls as criminals would likely target jewellery and cellular phone shops. “Members of the community are encouraged to use alcohol responsibly as it remains a major contributory factor to serious crimes such as rape, murder and assault,” he said.

Residents and other citizens are urged to report safety hazards and illegal or suspicious activities to relevant entities. For emergency services-related incidents, the public are asked to call 10177 from a landline or 112 from a cellphone.

The JMPD can be contacted on (011) 375-5911 or 10111. To report fraud and corruption, residents need to dial the Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 203 712.