Cops must be quicker, imbizo hears

Lansdowne police station commander Colonel Shaun van Wyk urged residents to report drug use and problems at liquor outlets

Poor police response times and visibility, cable theft, and drug use in parks were some of the issues that came up at a meeting between police and Lansdowne residents last week.

Various neighbourhood and street watches were at “crime imbizo”, which was organised by the Lansdowne Community Police Forum and held at Groenvlei High School.

The last such meeting was three years ago, according to CPF chairman Rafique Foflonker, who urged residents to raise any concerns.

Joint operations between the CPF and SAPS had closed many of Lansdowne’s drug dens in the past three years, he said, referring to houses in Orange, Conquest, Becott, Belthorn, Sunnyside, and Lansdowne roads.

“When we receive tip-offs about drug houses, we go after it. We had a huge bonfire in front of a drug house in Becott Road and disrupted the drug trade to such an extent that it shut down,” he said.

Lansdowne SAPS information officer Warrant Officer Gerald Hendricks warned that people who flashed expensive cellphones while walking risked being mugged.

“You must also be aware when you draw money from the bank and walk home. People watch you and will follow you. Be safe. It is getting dark earlier so please be alert. A lot of gate-motor theft has been reported, and it is costly to replace so please try to secure your property,” he said.

Resident Ghalieb de Bruyns complained about poor police visibility and delayed responses to burglaries.

“Sometimes we wait for up to two hours for a van to come around when we report crime, and that is far too long.”

Ward 60 councillor Mark Kleinschmidt said that the buying of scrap metal was fuelling the theft of cables for their copper.

“We have a huge problem in South Africa with cable theft. What else can we do to address the problem of buying illegal metal? All along Plantation Road, people are burning metal, and the streets are filthy on the days they collect refuse, and vagrants search through rubbish for anything they can sell for the copper. Filthy.”

Godfrey Arendse, from Turfall Estate, complained about youths doing drugs in local parks and drug dealing from spaza shops.

“The Freedom Park informal settlement is a huge problem concerning drugs. In the park, we’ve reported a young man doing drugs many times. We used to go to the park and watch that no crime is committed, but we can’t do it all the time. Nothing came from reporting it to SAPS.”

Lansdowne police station commander Colonel Shaun van Wyk urged the community to report drug use and problems at liquor outlets.

Patrol vans should switch on their blue lights to be more visible in the area, he said.

Liquor-store owners should make sure their customers behaved themselves because there had been complaints about them drinking and urinating near the stores, he said.

“We urge residents to take photos and have evidence when reporting this so that it will hold up in court. We also need the community to testify against these places because if the police go alone they will say that we are just one person complaining and we are harassing them.”

Lansdowne Community Police Fourm chairman Rafique Foflonker, said joint operations between the CPF and SAPS had closed many of Lansdowne’s drug dens in the past three years
Ward 60 councillor Mark Kleinschmidt said that the buying of scrap metal was fuelling cable theft.