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Editor's note
1 April 2008, News

After a few months of struggling to come up with some good news to focus on (my apologies for that!), I am happy to have something positive to report back on...

At the end of February, 702 Talk Radio's morning show host John Robbie followed up on a statement made by a South African Police Service Flying Squad member, that response times of the Flying Squad were sometimes hampered by difficulties in locating addresses. A campaign was launched and listeners opened their wallets. Over R2 million was raised for the purchase of 734 Garmin GPS units for the SAPS.

In March, a new trust fund was launched to mobilise the potential of technology and the country's best minds to address crime.

The Garmin Safety and Security Trust Fund is aimed at providing expertise, tools and strategies to communities in order to give South Africans a level of control and active participation in dealing with their own safety and security, explains Garmin CEO Richard Fearon.

Fearon announced the Trust Fund at the official handover of the 734 GPS units to the SAPS.

The Trust Fund will bring together a 'brains-trust' that will be responsible for developing strategies that will empower communities in the fight against crime. The trust will also manage the deployment of technology in making a positive impact on crime fighting strategies where other resources may be scarce.

"People know what to do when it comes to addressing the power crisis," says Fearon. "We switch off our geysers, we switch off lights. But when it comes to crime we are not sure what to do or how to do it, as communities or as individuals." The Trust Fund will ultimately give South Africans practical ways in which to manage their own safety.

Speaking at the handover, Fearon urged those present to realise the potential we have as communities in managing crime. "I do not want to leave [South Africa], I want to fix it, I want to make it safe for my kids, and for your kids."

"I really believe that we can do this! We can do this!" he added.

Four days after the conception of the Trust Fund, it had already secured funding to the value of R500 000.

Fearon stresses that the Trust Fund is not a charity. "It has to be run on business principles. We will seek the best minds to be our trustees. But of course there must be money for this to happen."

Fearon believes that there is room for all South Africans to participate in the Fund. "Crime is a matter of national importance and therefore national participation is required to make this work."

The Trust Fund will offer opportunities for engagement for those who wish to make donations, share ideas or give their time. For more info, e-mail richardf@garmin.co.za

Lynne Larsen


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