SYDENHAM INFIGHTING within the police force and the disbandment of specialised units are causing crime to escalate in the country.
This is according to chairman of the Sydenham CPF, Satish Dhupelia, who said housebreakings and armed robberies were on the increase in his area.
“The crime stats are not a true reflection of what is happening in these areas has people are not reporting crimes because they believe that nothing can be done,” he said. “These yearly figures do us no good. We need to know on a weekly basis which crimes are increasing so we can act on them.”
Dhupelia said there was too much “disharmony and infighting” in the police service itself and if police officers could not work together they could not expect to reduce crime.
“One of the major contributors to crime is drugs, (the prevalence of which) is increasing rapidly,” he said. “We need more raids done. We need police to patrol our areas in unmarked vehicles to catch the people behind the robberies and hijackings in the area.”
Theft of motor vehicles, hijackings, housebreakings and burglaries were on an increase in Phoenix, with incidents occurring daily, said the chairman of the Phoenix CPF, Umesh Singh.
“One incident in our area is already too much and these crimes are a huge concern for us. Theft of motor vehicles is spreading fast with VW Polos and Golfs being the main targets. These vehicles are also targeted during hijackings, which … (have) also increased.”
He added that housebreakings and burglaries were also common.
“Our main challenge is community involvement and the surge of drugs. When they (residents) are victims of crime they fail to report it. This is a problem for us because we cannot identify the most affected areas. However, police have stepped up patrols. They have also managed to respond to incidents quicker, from (an average of) 45 minutes to 17 minutes.”
Singh said drugs played a huge part in the increase of crime. “In order to get their next fix addicts would steal anything. This contributes to the crime. We have a unit that is conducting raids almost daily and has made numerous arrests. We are hoping these attempts will reduce crime in the area,” he said.
Tony Govender from the Chatsworth CPF said crime in the area was high because of community apathy.
“The current crime stats for Chatsworth are not the true reflection of the status of crime in the area. Residents have lost faith in the judiciary and are no longer willing to report their incidents. This is causing crimes like house robberies, hijackings, cable theft and petty incidents to escalate,” he said.
“We understand police cannot be all places at once, so to assist them we have formed sub police forums in different areas. Here we conduct patrols and we have created crime alert groups on social media apps like BBM and WhatsApp.”
The vice-chairman of the Tongaat CPF and chairman of the Coastal Sector, Nazir Sadack, said that while the number of hijackings had been low over the past three months, house robberies and housebreakings were still prevalent, with several incidents reported a week.
He said the number of murders was also low.
“When it comes to hijackings, we have done widespread publicity to educate residents on the dos and dont’s. This is repeatedly circulated via the media, our Facebook page, email address groups and through WhatsApp,” he said.
“Members from the CPF are also out in full force every day. Groups start patrolling in the mornings from around 9am to lunchtime and then again from about 5pm to about 3am the following morning.
“We also work in conjunction with various private security companies because they have response vehicles based in specific areas and we communicate via WhatsApp. So if something happens in one area a fleet of security company cars arrive, not just one. This is assisting us in the fight against crime.”
The chairman of the Mountain Rise CPF, Jay Jugwanth, said he was fearful crime was going to increase now that the Combined Action Team (CAT) had been disbanded.
“For the past six months CAT’s team of 14 members were working with SAPS to conduct patrols and searches. During this period they made over 400 arrests for various crimes. However, their services were terminated without any explanation.”
Jugwanth said he feared to think what was going to become of the area now.
“Petty crimes were most common but under control.
“Police need to have a proper plan in order to ensure that crime does not increase in these areas.”