We’ll deal with criminals ourselves, threaten residents
RESIDENTS of Faerie Glen in Pretoria east have threatened to take matters into their own hands to deal with an increase in levels of crime in the area if the police did not intervene.
They said the community was being held hostage by criminals after a surge in housebreakings and muggings over the past few months.
Reports of crime from the suburb and the nearby Faerie Glen Nature Reserve have emerged, with the first crime inside the reserve taking place two weeks ago after a 10-year record of safety and security.
A female trail runner was attacked as she ran along the trails in the reserve and all of her gear, including her shoes, cellphone, hydration backpack and sunglasses were taken.
Warnings were also posted on social media, urging trail runners to be cautious and not to exercise on their own, as criminals, often wielding knives and wearing balaclavas, were on the prowl.
They are said to gain entry into the nature reserve through Atterbury Bridge and use the Manitoba Bridge to access the rest of the reserve and homes along the periphery.
Homes being hit are those situated on the eastern side and last week, residents said they were fed up with what they perceived as a lack of police action.
“We are going to be using maximum force to protect ourselves from these thugs. Extreme situations require extreme measures,” said a resident, who lives opposite the nature reserve on Glenwood Street.
He said on two occasions, he had spotted burglars in his yard. “They have stolen my hosepipe and rake,” he said.
Kefentse Mompei, who also lives adjacent to the reserve, said criminals were becoming arrogant and doing as they pleased. She added that her clothes were stolen off her washing line.
She said the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve opposite her residential complex provided a hiding place for criminals.
“What is sad is that a resident will end up shooting and killing the perpetrators and they will be jailed for protecting their family,” said Mompei.
Community members said they were fed up and wanted a public meeting with police as soon as possible to discuss the setting-up of foot patrols.
Other residents said that despite a police station being in close proximity to their homes, they no longer felt safe.
Resident Maralise Louw said they wanted to call on all the men in the community to come out and assist people going to work to protect them from being attacked.
“And also for men to go to the gates of the schools to make sure that the children going to school do so safely,” she said.
The chairperson of the Friends of the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve, Louise Kritzinger, said the fences along January Masilela, Glenwood and Manitoba roads all needed maintenance.
She added that the makeshift fence under the Atterbury Bridge, which was made of thin wooden poles, needed to be reinforced properly to keep criminals out.
A large bush, situated a stone’s throw away from the Atterbury Bridge, is where the criminals lived, The Star was told.
“We are going to suggest that the metro police remove the vagrants,” Kritzinger said.
The reserve was fenced off over a period of about five years, from 2002, said Kritzinger.
Residents blamed the increase in crime in the area on the development on the northern side of the reserve, adjacent to Lynnwood Road. They said builders and job seekers had flooded to the area, leading to squatting on the mountain.
According to Kritzinger, after the developments were finished, some people continued to live in the bushes, but they were removed from the reserve by mounted police patrols in 2006 and 2007.
Councillor Ernst Botha of Ward 44 said he had been in constant contact with Lieutenant-Colonel Kervin Solomon of the Garsfontein Police, requesting intervention. A meeting was yet to be set-up, he said.
“Faerie Glen Nature Reserve has recently become a hotspot for criminal elements; myself and Councillor Pieter van Heerden from Ward 46, adjacent to Ward 44, have collectively been in discussions with various stakeholders to try to curb crime in the area,” said Botha.
He added that they have also taken it to the top structures within the City of Tshwane, including the departments of Community Safety, Emergency Services and the chairperson of Community Safety.
The City and police had not responded on the crime rates by late yesterday afternoon.
We are going to be using maximum force to protect ourselves
KEEP ’EM OUT: Thomas Schmidt and Ralph Enslin repair a palisade fence in January Masilela Avenue in Faerie Glen, Tshwane.