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Libraries look to communities to help curb vandalism and theft<span>​<figure class="figure-credits left"><img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:1023px;" /><figcaption> <p> © City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure></span>At just after 13:00 on Tuesday, a group of attackers stormed the facility and vandalised computer equipment, windows and doors. Staff and patrons were also threatened with physical violence. It is further believed that the group intended to set fire to the building as police later found some type of accelerant outside. <p>‘It appears that the incident was linked to protest action in the area, and, while staff and patrons were not physically hurt, they have been left traumatised by the ordeal. I appeal to anyone in the community who knows anything about this incident to please approach the police or the City’s enforcement agencies so that we can hold those responsible to account for their actions,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.</p><span><figure class="figure-credits right"><img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:1023px;" /><figcaption> <p>© City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure><p>The City has yet to calculate the cost of the damage, but the incident comes at a time when the Library and Information Service has already submitted 110 insurance claims in the current financial year valued at R1 247 864,44. This is three times higher than the 58 claims submitted in the previous financial year for R377 394,13. </p><p>‘Some of our libraries are under siege with thieves stealing anything of value that they can lay their hands on, from air-conditioning units to computers. There is also malicious damage to property targeting doors, windows and ceilings and, frankly, we are appalled.</p><p>‘We are working very hard to modernise our libraries and stay apace with technology for the benefit of our users. Our SmartCape facilities are crucial to learners who need to conduct research for projects and assignments, but also to jobseekers and entrepreneurs. To deprive people of these opportunities through cable theft or vandalism and even the theft of desktop computers is nothing short of callous,’ said Alderman Smith. </p><span>​<figure class="figure-credits left"><img class="responsive" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:1023px;" /><figcaption> <p> © City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure></span></span>Of the City’s 104 libraries, 17 feature prominently on the list of insurance claims and account for 54% of all claims submitted in the last three financial years, with the most damage occurring at the Bellville, Bishop Lavis, Eerste River, Goodwood, Hangberg and Heideveld libraries.<p>‘Our library staff have started engaging with the local councillors and subcouncils to highlight the seriousness of the situation during community meetings and to secure the buy-in from these communities to take ownership of their local facilities and help track down the culprits. In many instances, people know who the criminals are but are too fearful or apathetic to do anything. Libraries are such important resources in the communities they serve and should be protected at all costs,’ added Alderman Smith.</p><p>Some of the measures implemented to negate the risk of theft or vandalism include perimeter lighting, installation of burglar bars and tinted windows, alarm systems and additional beams and sensors at potential entry points like ceilings and courtyards. A number of City libraries are also on the list of facilities set to form part of the recently expanded Facility Protection Officer initiative <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p><p>‘I also call on neighbourhood watches and other local community policing structures to help us safeguard our community facilities at large. We also have an informant reward system for information that can lead to the successful apprehension and conviction of persons who target City infrastructure or the recovery of stolen items. We need all hands on deck if we’re going to throw the book at criminals,’ said Alderman Smith.</p><p><strong>End</strong></p><p> </p>2018-05-22T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#2c600120-f64e-48e2-b077-11a8cf3f3e30;L0|#02c600120-f64e-48e2-b077-11a8cf3f3e30|library;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#426f33a2-4cf0-4de1-9b5b-d1e5123efbe4;L0|#0426f33a2-4cf0-4de1-9b5b-d1e5123efbe4|Gugulethu;GP0|#fc0a19bf-6a9b-42af-bc90-8a0d4b9f4eac;L0|#0fc0a19bf-6a9b-42af-bc90-8a0d4b9f4eac|vandalism1


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