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More brain, less brawn a win for CAP Security

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Since the inception of Community Active Protection (CAP) Security, violent crime has gone down almost 90% in the areas it protects. Now, CAP Chief Executive Mark van Jaarsveld and his team are on a new mission.

“We want to eradicate violent crime in Johannesburg,” said Van Jaarsveld, who was awarded the Mann Made Media Community Award together with the CAP management team at the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards at the Sandton Convention Centre on 19 November. “Some might think this is impossible, but I’m telling you this evening that it will be achieved. With the support of our community, broader society, corporate South Africa, and working in partnership with the authorities, we have begun to build the capacity and capability to achieve it.”

It’s this can-do attitude that has made CAP such a powerful force in the communities it serves. Officially started in 2006 when crime in Glenhazel had brought a disproportionate level of violence, the community led by Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein came together, and CAP was formed.

The CAP team started to see the same people perpetrating robberies over and over again, and so its mantra of “more brain, less brawn” was born. “We had to get smarter, we had to understand them better,” said Van Jaarsveld.

That’s why CAP has moved into targeted intelligence, working to pre-empt crime, taking the fight to the criminals rather than waiting for them to perpetrate violent acts in the communities it serves. Having arrested 277 suspects, recovered 54 firearms, 145 hijacked and stolen motor vehicles used in the commission of crime, and seizing R55 million in stolen assets in the last eight months, CAP clearly has a winning strategy.

“We have more than 100 informants that give us information about incidents that are about to take place or have taken place,” said Van Jaarsveld. “That’s what’s happening every single day, and many people don’t see it and don’t understand that’s what CAP is doing. It’s not a cowboy mentality. We do it because we care.”

Paying tribute to the chief rabbi and the board of volunteer members who brought their vision of CAP to fruition 17 years ago, Van Jaarsveld said none of CAP’s successes could have been achieved without their guidance. He also praised his “brothers and sisters in arms at CAP” who helped to build an organisation to be proud of.

“It’s you who are the true heroes of our story,” he said. “It’s hard to do justice to the immense sacrifice you’ll make, the extent to which you’ll go to pursue justice, the risk this imposes on you personally, and on your families. We don’t do it for glory or recognition. In fact, telling of our success brings with it even more risk. We do it because we’ve seen what happens when evil prevails. You wake up every morning, driven by a purpose to ensure that it never happens again. You speak through action.”

Van Jaarsveld is grateful to his wife, who he honoured for her understanding and for holding down the fort without complaint while he was largely absent.

Ending with a message to the community, he said, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t let a few thousand criminals overwhelm and scare the millions of good and honest South Africans. Stand behind us to help achieve a city in which violent crime doesn’t exist.”

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