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Public urged to be aware of con artists operating in City
MEMBERS of the public are urged to be aware of a new scam operating in the Central Business District(CBD), Isiphingo and Pinetown. The scam involves a “magician” performing an act and while the crowd is enthralled by the performance, their accomplices’ pickpocket the distracted crowd.

Project Co-Ordinator from the City’s Security Management Unit (SMU), Silence Vilani said the City has deployed law enforcement officers to patrol the areas where the scam artists operate. Vilani said between 4am and 3.30pm, SMU has six teams of four members in each team deployed to the six hotspots.

Between 3.30pm and 11pm SMU further deploys 12 teams of four members per team to patrol the identified hotspots. Explaining the scam, Vilani said the fraudsters are dressed as traditional healers. They attract the public by making prophesises and prescribing remedial solutions to personal problems. And while the crowd watch their performance, their accomplices rob the unsuspecting audience.

The City will be running an awareness programme to warn the public about the con artists. Furthermore, all law enforcement agencies within the City have been made aware of the issue by SMU. Major roleplayers including the South African Police Service, Metro Police and private security companies have joined forces to minimise these criminal activities by forming security patrols, static monitoring through deployment of officers, monitoring closed circuit television cameras and ensuring a rapid response.

During a raid by SMU in the Durban CBD on 21 November, the “magicians” attempted to bribe officials to allow them to continue to work. The public is urged to report criminal activities to Metro Police on 031 361 0000, SAPS on 10111 or Security Management on 031 311 4701.

jessie.singh@durban.gov.za 
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