Hard-hit com­mu­ni­ties

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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.”

PHOENIX

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.

CHATSWORTH

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.”

TON­GAAT

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.”

MOUN­TAIN RISE

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.”

JAY JUGWANTH

UMESH SINGH

SATISH DHU­PELIA

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