attempted mugging at howick falls

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Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:18 am

attempted mugging at howick falls

Post by jonathan » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:23 am

It stinks to have to place a post like this. I grew up in Howick and the area is like my back yard.
This past weekend my brother and I had just finished Stagefright - which, by the way, is a truly spectacular route - and were walking back to the car park, through the short strip of forest alongside the river. Three young men carrying clubs passed my brother, but when they reached me the first of them replied to my greeting by trying to brain me. I don't think it was planned so when things didn't go as they might have hoped, and my brother spun around and came thundering in as only a flank forward can, they fled until they regathered and realised that they outnumbered us and came back, but by that time we had a good lead and felt no shame at improving it.

I remember, years ago, finding that the type of young idlers that hang about the whole falls area are of that defiant and malevolent turn of mind where greetings are often answered by baleful stares.
I was speaking to another climber who said he was half way up a pitch at the falls when it started raining stones for a good long while and when they got back to their car which was parked right outside the restraunt they found it had been broken into.

I worry a little about abseiling and climbing in a place where we are entirely at the mercy of whoever happens to be on the cliff top. It just takes a handful of thugs to spoil an area.

People have mentioned before that having an armed guard would defeat the sense of natural freedom, but when I'm more concerned about dodging stones or having the rope cut or damaged than about sticking the lunge, then I would hire a guard any day. There's nothing smart about standing in a lightning storm saying you've never been struck yet and it's beneath you to find shelter.

Does anyone know of an armed guard or police reservist (can they do this sort of thing) with good references who can be hired for the day?

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Post by Para » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:02 pm

Hi Jonathan

I am not familiar with the exact location the incident took place but I am assuming that it's not an urban area. Speaking as a police reservist it would be difficult to be officially posted in such a location.

As reservists we are utilized as force multipliers. Economy of force dictates where and how we are deployed. Effectively what this means that unless a location has a recent history of serious crime or is considered \"high profile\" it is doubtful 2 ppl would be deployed there ( we never work alone ) for an entire shift. This is more true for a rural setting than an urban one.

Personally as a fellow climber I would gladly take one for the collective team and look pretty for an 8 hour stretch. Hell, I may even bring my rack along and do a \"tactical\" climb or two. :D

However, the SAPS would more than likely see such a posting as an \"inefficient use of manpower\".

It wouldn't hurt to ask though. Phone up the local station and get the contact details for the head reservist. Maybe you will find that he could infact get 2 ppl posted.

Regarding payement in such a circumstance it would effectively amount to passive corruption. I am not saying that it doesn't happen - one is regularly reminded in the media about \"cops for hire\". The majority of reservists I know however would decline anything over and above an ice cold coke.


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Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 8:18 am

Post by jonathan » Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:02 am

Thanks for the info Paul. I suppose I was hoping that reservists could decide in their off-time to do a shift without being posted, but I can see that's not realistic.
I spoke to the manager of the Howick tourism board and he was very understanding of the problem. They do have serious plans for securing the area.

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