Calls for gated com­mu­ni­ties are boom­ing

Lyn­nwood gets City ap­proval for such a de­ter­rent against crime af­ter a two-year ap­pli­ca­tion process

Pretoria News - - SAFETY - LIAM NGOBENI liam.ngobeni@inl.co.za CEN­TU­RION

THE spike in crime has forced com­mu­ni­ties to start ap­ply­ing for gated com­mu­ni­ties as a de­ter­rent.

Lyn­nwood is the lat­est area to get ap­proval for a gated com­mu­nity fol­low­ing a two-year process.

Coun­cil­lor for the area, Siob­han Muller, said that while the com­mu­nity started pa­trols more than two years ago in a bid to steer crime away, armed rob­beries were still tak­ing place.

She said it got to a point where the com­mu­nity had banded to­gether and said they would make sure their area was safe.

“Th­ese clo­sures are hap­pen­ing be­cause the SAPS is not able to pro­tect us ad­e­quately. The mo­ti­va­tion for a gated com­mu­nity is that crime is out of con­trol and the po­lice do not have the ca­pac­ity to cope.”

She said it was also im­por­tant that res­i­dents did what they could to cre­ate a safe en­vi­ron­ment and be in­volved in crime pre­ven­tion.

“For ex­am­ple, with an ac­tive com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rum, pa­trols, cam­eras, etc.”

She said this would clearly be the way for­ward in the city, and that is why the amount to ap­ply was dropped from an ex­or­bi­tant R150 000 to R11 000.

“Be­fore it could cost res­i­dents up to R500 000, but now an ap­pli­ca­tion costs R11 000; so even poorer areas have ac­cess to the process. There are other ben­e­fits than safety such as in­surance com­ing down and prop­erty val­ues go­ing up in the gated com­mu­nity.

“The DA ad­min­is­tra­tion was in­volved in the re­vi­sion of the pol­icy for gated com­mu­ni­ties in Pre­to­ria be­cause the pre­vi­ous pol­icy was not com­pre­hen­sive enough, and was ex­pen­sive,” Muller said.

The clo­sure must meet cer­tain cri­te­ria, such as al­low­ing ac­cess to emer­gency ve­hi­cles and not ham­per­ing the road net­work. “For ex­am­ple, you can­not close roads like Lyn­nwood or

At­ter­bury, only those on the pe­riph­ery.”

Muller said in other areas where there had been clo­sures there had been a huge dif­fer­ence, es­pe­cially with re­gards to se­ri­ous crimes. “So, while there may be some petty crime, it def­i­nitely re­duces crimes such as house break­ing and armed rob­bery.”

Ap­pli­ca­tions were also stream­ing in for areas such as Mamelodi and Eer­sterust, she said.

While the process took about two years, Muller said this could not be blamed on the City of Tsh­wane.

“It needs com­mu­nity in­volve­ment, mobilising peo­ple to buy into the idea and get more than two-thirds sup­port. Then you need to sub­mit the ap­pli­ca­tion and let all rel­e­vant de­part­ments com­ment, in­clud­ing traf­fic, fire, com­mu­nity safety.

“Then it goes to the spa­tial land devel­op­ment tri­bunal, which will take a prin­ci­pled de­ci­sion on the ap­pli­ca­tion.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion then goes back to the res­i­dents for pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, and if there are ob­jec­tions, it can­not be ap­proved.

An­drew van den Berg from the Lyn­nwood Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion told the Pre­to­ria News that de­spite hav­ing about 262 pa­trollers work­ing on week­days and week­ends, there were still armed rob­beries ev­ery week.

“In the last rob­bery shots were fired for the first time in many years. Crim­i­nals are tar­get­ing places and the lengths they go to are scary. The ques­tion is, who is next, and we have to make sure we safe­guard our com­mu­nity. This will im­prove safety dras­ti­cally.”

He said there would be al­ways crime, but armed rob­beries would def­i­nitely drop.

“I strongly be­lieve that gated com­mu­ni­ties are the way to go. I have also been a vic­tim; my house was robbed and I felt that it was time to act be­fore some­thing bad hap­pened.

“I think clo­sures are the way to go, done in a le­gal and pro­fes­sional way. We are glad of this end re­sult,” said Van den Berg.

AF­TER a two-year process, a gated com­mu­nity has been ap­proved for Lyn­nwood. | Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

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