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Armed home invasions picking up again...

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Hello Everyone

I want to apologize in advance for this rant...

I am so angry this morning that I can hardly contain myself. I received a sms last night from a friend warning everybody about armed home invasions again. Yesterday in the early morning hours, his daughter, her husband and kids got held by 5 armed men. They proceeded to helping themselves to the luxury items in the house. "Fortunately", they were not harmed in the process. But I mean the physiological impact of something like this on a minor is terrible.

Rumour has it that it is the same gang targeting a couple of houses each night. And the best of all is that they get away with it!! This incident happened in a 'safe area' of Vanderbijlpark. Apparently they hit 14 houses in one night in Vereeniging.

I am so sick and tired of this by now... The weather is currently great, but now my wife is too scared to play with our daughter (almost 2) outside when I'm not home. This is unacceptable! At night, our locked-in bedroom looks like we are preparing for war. We are both armed, alarm system activated, our two Rottweilers sleeping indoors (to protect them against the famous 2 step poison) and then we still sleep with one eye open. But the problem is, I have to go to work in the morning. And it is impossible to keep the alarm activated 24 hours a day and carrying a handgun around the house all the time. Especially with a 2 year old around.

Sorry guys, I just had to vent a bit. I can't WAIT for those visa anymore. I hope and pray (literally praying everyday) that we pass our medicals and get the visa's issued.

For everybody on this forum in the Vaal area, please be super vigilant and careful. These guys have no mercy or respect for life.

A question for the folks in Canada: Do you ever get rid of this paranoia and feel safe again??

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Queque

I was talking to an old friend just 2 days ago, and we agreed that the tipping point for 99% of emigrants from SA is direct crime. I mean things like corruption impact us indirectly, but we can live with it. Rolling blackouts, we can live with. Ever increasing taxes, etolling, runaway exchange rate, etc we can live with. But once someone experiences a crime directly its the tipping point for most and we just want out. Its actually the kick into gear I needed a few months back after being held up at home because its draining to be watching your back 24/7.

Edited by Queque
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ENGinCT

Hey NV

As a recent arrival - yes, I've very quickly adopted the local belief that a violent invasion of your space or property is almost unheard of. Still lock the doors etc, and still scan around when out at night, but those are just SA habits.

It's so refreshing to be driving around way after dark and there are people - even in not-so-busy areas, even in the slightly grimier areas - walking around calmly, without nervousness and without backward glances, and you have to - as a SAffer - remind yourself that they're not in danger, or stupid, or obviously criminals - just people making their way home without a care in the world.

It's really cool and I never expected to take it for granted so quickly. Sure, one mustn't be too complacent, s**t happens everywhere, but... welcome to civilization!

Edited by ENGinCT

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zandekock

When I was a little girl (primary school) I walked to school, i even walked with my younger sisters to their creche, saw them off there and walked on to school. i was sent to buy bread and milk etc. and i never had a care in the world. my son is about to enter high school and we are already making arrangements for his transport and aftercare, he has never walked to school or gone to the shop unaccompanied

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OutOfSa

I think the fear and paranoia definitely recede with time. I don't scan around the car at every stop and intersection, I don't avoid certain roads at anytime, because where I am, no one road is 'unsafe' except perhaps for pot holes.

The other morning, on the way to work in the middle of nowhere (pitch black), I came across a guy that was stuck. Without really thinking I pulled up alongside and asked if he needed help. This is unprecedented for me, in SA I would not even have considered it as I lived by the motto of 'reduced risk'. As far as I was concerned the less risk you exposed yourself and family to, the less likely you were to be a statistic. My 'tipping point' came and went.

Something I love about being here is passing through beautiful little towns, unspoiled - with shops lining the sides and not a single beggar, or sidewalk vendor. Sometimes we visit a picturesque town and browse the main street and get a coffee or lunch at a quaint little Cafe. I mention this because it used to be like that in SA many years back, but we all know how those beautiful old towns look now....

I was in the Vaal Triangle in the late 80's - in those days there was mega smog, but it was not unsafe.

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Jules

Yeah the violent crime in SA (home invasions, car jacking and mall shoot outs) is unacceptable. I'm Not going to say it has never happened in Canada but it is so rare it's a joke.

Home invasions here are 99% of the time crime on crime events - drug distributor or producer gets robbed by another gang. It's labeled as a home invasion.

Car jackings? Almost never ever. Car theft DOES happen and sometimes they will steal a car idling in the driveway while someone is closing the garage door or the person popped into the store - with the car running they will call that a car jacking.

Shoot outs in a mall? Once in a decade maybe.

Canada has non violent crime mainly. And the violent stuff is 99% a criminal attacking another criminal or (sadly) domestic violence.

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Tracey22

In SA, i found I only got angry and started venting about crime (murder, corruption etc) when i was ready to leave.. Then my eyes opened so wide, and I could not look the other way, and ig nore what was going on. it is a terrible place to be emotionally. I remember sitting at work, and sometime panicking that I would come home to find my maid and children tied up or left dead. then I KNEW we had to get out.

You definitely lose the paranoia after being here for a while. I am no longer aware of what cars are following me, who is in the intersection etc etc. i no longer carry condoms on me in the expectation that i will be raped, and need to protect myself. The car doors are not locked and in winter, I leave my car running to get warm - no walls fences or gates. My 11 year old son stays at home alone, and walks/cycles everywhere. We have given him a cellphone for security - our own peace of mind that we can contact him at all times.

The other night, as i was leaving the house to go to work, I realised we had left the front door unlocked. oops, but nothing was stolen.

our city (population 320,000) has about 3 murders a year and except for the most recent one were gangs/mafia/organized crime related.

City of Toronto (population 2.8 million) has had 48 homicides so far this year - again most of it is organized crime - gangs etc

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AnelleR2008

HUGE HUGS! I do remember those days. And I remember just being anxious and on guard ALL the time!

The answer to your question is YES! You do get over it! It takes time and my dh always jokes that you can find newly arrived Saffers by looking at who rolls up their windows and locks their doors as soon as they get into their vehicles. I remember going the the Bay Shopping Center in Ottawa shortly after we arrived. There was a sign that said: Help prevent crime. Lock your vehicle doors. I was INCREDULOUS. Now I have to remind myself sometimes to lock the van doors when we are at the big shopping centers. We live out in the country and I always just leave the van running if I run into the local country store in winter. At our old home we had no garage, so we sent one of the kids out to start the van about 10 mins before we would go out. In winter the engine would warm up so we could have a warm van, and in summer it was to cool it with the aircon. And I never lock the doors when we go to the surrounding smaller towns for shopping. Dh still does. It annoys the kids :D :D

Since we live out in the country we never lock our house doors, not even when we go out. Our neighbour at our previous home is an OPP policewoman. They were going on holiday and they couldn't find their house keys :) :) On a number of occasions we have had friends come by when we're out and just leave the stuff on the diningroom table if it is raining outside :D Even when getting stuff off freecycle, people often just leave it on their porch for you to pick up.

Stopping to help someone on the side of the road is a given, Seeing young girls walking alone at night with earphones in (so no awareness of who is behind them, etc) always freaks me out a little. In the beginning I remember being totally amazed by old people walking their little dogs (or cats) in the dark on summer evenings. On their own. Without a care in the world.

I don't ever check intersections for loiters who could be waiting to hijack me.

On statistics: A few years ago we read an alarming headline in a local newspaper: Car break-ins up by 50% in the last year at local park-and-ride! For those of you who don't know: The park and ride is an open parking lot (usually just a sand lot) with no fence, no security guards, etc. It is usually in more rural/secluded areas where the buses don't run everywhere. You park your car there in the morning, catch a bus to the city and then catch the bus back in the evening.
It turns out that the numbers gone up from 2 to 3 :) in a YEAR! 2 of those vehicles were not locked.

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AnelleR2008

BTW, my kids all play outside by themselves. We're on 5 acres and they go into the woods, build forts and tree houses, make trails, have treasure hunts. The youngest has to have someone with her when she heads out (she is only 3), everyone else just go by themselves although the 5 year old prefers to have an older sibling with him even when he plays in the sand pit or on the jungle gyms. I insist that he takes the dog with him.
We have no fence. The biggest thing is to teach them not to go in the road. Again, we live in the country so that does come into play.

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Cathy K

We live among large wooded areas. The rain forests are all around us and is an integral part of Nanaimo. There are pockets of woods/forest throughout the city, even in downtown.

One morning I was walking alone in the woods. There was nobody else around. Then I saw a young Black man walking in the path towards me. We greeted each other, spoke a few words and merrily went our separate ways - just two ex South Africans having a chance meeting. It finally proved to me that the South African stereotypes don't really exist in Canada. At no point did I feel afraid and I'm pretty sure that the young man didn't think that I was going to do my best to ignore him or quickly hurry away.

It is truly a win-win situation in Canada. Black immigrants from South Africa are finally on equal footing. We see it in the self-assured and confident way they interact with fellow Canadians. The stigma of guilt by association is gone.

Edited by Cathy K
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Guest Petros

Buddy you have no idea how quickly you forget the stress of crime here. The two keys on my keyring remind me every day----- one key for the car and one for the front door. In SA I had maybe 10.

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M-N

That is terrible, we have only been here a week and we are still in the SA-defense frame of mind but it is easier. People I know here literally gasp out of shock when we tell them about all the security measure one has to undertake in SA. Some of them here haven't locked their front doors in over 3 years, I suppose it depends on the neighborhood, and the concept of keeping your handbag or laptop bag in the trunk is foreign. Yes, I have read and heard of "opportunistic" people here but they are far and few between and usually the whole community is in an uproar about it. I also think you will find more petty crime in the cities in Canada than I would think you'd find in the smaller towns as the sense of community in the towns is a lot tighter than in the cities, once again depending on your neighborhood.

All in all, you learn to relax and not having to look over your shoulder every 5 minutes when you're walking to the shops or bus stop.

What worries me about SA is that I have a mom and sister that still stay there alone and I worry about them everyday. I just pray that they remain safe and happy.

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Angiedoo

Although crime is really bad in South Africa, crime happens here too but as Jules said, gang crimes.

Last week though, my husband was robbed of our laptop, he had never been robbed in South Africa, I was the one that told him not to be so paranoid anymore as we are not in SA anymore. Woops :whistling:

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Jules

Although crime is really bad in South Africa, crime happens here too but as Jules said, gang crimes.

Last week though, my husband was robbed of our laptop, he had never been robbed in South Africa, I was the one that told him not to be so paranoid anymore as we are not in SA anymore. Woops :whistling:

Not lekker. Was it a house break in for the laptop?

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Old Van

Took me 3 months to shake it off. I had a home invasion in 2009 and even though it didn't end well for the invaders, it still wasn't fun. This place is roughly 16000km away from there, but it feels like it is a World apart. No harm in still being somewhat vigilant though.

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OutOfSa

Angie that's lousy, just hope you had a better time with the cops here (taken seriously) than you may have had in SA. You're in down town Vancouver? Big city blues I suppose. Sorry to hear that.

There are certainly parts of the GTA where I would not walk with my laptop. I guess it's about figuring out where not to be open. I'm sure that taints your CA experience and is fuel for the "I told you so" SA crowd.

I was also thinking it's all relative because imagine how long any of us would last in downtown JHB....:(

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MaryJane

Hubby used to work in JHB CBD and sometimes the stories that he comes home with are really out of this world. I think it was meant to unfaze us.

I think the more years you stay and feel safe in Canada, the more you let go of the angst that you had while living in SA. I can feel myself relax a little each day I stay longer in Canada. I can see the difference in the paranoid way I used to do things in SA all in the name of security. But I don't think my mind will allow me to totally forget everything so I'm still vigilant. Not as guarded as before though. Yet tainted I suppose.

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Guest

Although crime is really bad in South Africa, crime happens here too but as Jules said, gang crimes.

Last week though, my husband was robbed of our laptop, he had never been robbed in South Africa, I was the one that told him not to be so paranoid anymore as we are not in SA anymore. Woops :whistling:

Don't let this incident dampen your settling in spirit! You are correct, crime happens everywhere. We have to unfortunately live with criminal scum of the earth everywhere, we just have far less of it here in Canada.

My neighbour across the roads backyard backs onto a green space. He has deer etc eating out of wooden crates that fills with food for them. A few months ago some teenage drug addicted snots kicked his back door in and ransacked his home for drug money. At least no one was home, they took small things that could be sold quickly to get their next fix.

Had this been the same scenario in South Africa, they would have waited for you, possibly tortured, raped, maimed or killed to get what they want. Don't mean to paint South Africa bad, but crime in South Africa is what it is due a government that doesn't care! Glad to call Canada home!

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Jules

The bulk of theft crimes (out of cars and homes) are younger people who are drug addicts needing drug money. Generally speaking they are harmless people but obviously still not nice to be in the receiving end.

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Old Van

Now is a opportune moment for my "South African moment" from last week. We have never had any crime of any sort in out suburb because we are right on the edge of Maple Ridge. So I suppose we just had someone wandering a little further out of the middle of town than usual. But we had a few cars broken into and also mailboxes broken open in the last 3 weeks or so. Anyway, I spotted an RCMP cruiser stopped at out little neighbourhood park and struck up a convo with the Mountie and he said we should be on the lookout for "odd or suspicious persons and/or behaviour".

So with this fresh is in my mind, last week I see a guy come racing around the corner in a "vrot" old Chevy Sunfire and he slams on the brakes right in front of my neighbour's driveway. He then proceeds to jump out and runs into my neighbour's (open) garage. Seconds later he runs out with something in his hands, jumps in the car and races off. So of course my instinct kicks in and I run outside, jump in my son's car which was on the driveway, and give chase! I catch up with him about a block away and he slams on the brakes at another house with an open garage door. He jumps out again and runs into the open garage. Now I'm in full "combat mode" and I block his car and jump out. As he comes running back out of the garage, we meet face to face and I'm yelling, "WHAT THE $#@& ARE YOU DOING?!?!" He looks petrified and replies "delivering Chinese food sir". :P So, unfazed I shout, "THEN WAY THE $#&% ARE YOU DRIVING SO FAST!?!?" Again, he replies, "sorry about that sir, I just don't want the food to get cold". That's when I started feeling slightly embarrassed! :D

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ENGinCT

Nice one, Van! Turned it into a 'road safety' moment - ha!

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OutOfSa

Ha, ha - priceless :)

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Sparky2

Great story Van!

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Tracey22

Van, sharing your story on facebook. Hope you do not mind.

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New Ventures

Guys and Girls,

Thank you so much for your responses. I appreciate your encouragement and empathy. It is really great speaking with a crowd who understand my frustration and know my state of mind. Most of my friends and colleagues doesn't grasp my frustration, as they don't know we are in the process of applying for PR. Only after we made the decision to move on, the magnitude of our safety and security in SA really hit us.

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