The station commander at Lansdowne SAPS might be new to the area, but he is certainly not new to his responsibilities in this position.
Colonel Shawn van Wyk has been a police officer for 30 years, and served as a station commander for 17 of these years. He took over the reigns at Lansdowne SAPS from Thursday March 1.
Before, he was station commander at Grassy Park SAPS.
If Colonel Van Wyk had his way, he would have been a volunteer at SAPS as a young boy of 15.
“I was in Grade 10 – then it was known as Standard 8 – and I wanted to join what was then referred to as a junior reservist. I applied, and was later told that I must be 18 years old in order to be a reservist. Then when I completed my schooling, I immediately applied to become a SAPS member. After all these years, I am still passionate about what I do,” Colonel Van Wyk said.
On Wednesday March 7, just one week into his new post, Colonel Van Wyk was introduced to the community at the Lansdowne Community Police Forum’s (CPF’s) annual general meeting, which was held at Turfhall Primary School hall.
“I am excited to work with this community. Crime is not a your or me business, crime is an us business. We must all become crime-prevention smart. I have always believed in partnerships. For SAPS, our main partner is the CPF and the neighbourhood watches, as well as the security companies. The community also plays a vital role. We must all work together. We can reduce crime, but we must also bear in mind that there are victims of crime, and we must avoid secondary victimisation. Crime victims either got hurt, lost a loved one or lost valuable property.
“When I arrived on Thursday March 1, the CPF chairperson, Rafique Foflonker, welcomed me. I can feel there’s something warm and something good will happen for this community,” Colonel Van Wyk said.
During his first week, he familiarised himself with the community, and especially looked at what the priority crimes are in the area.
“House break-ins and robberies, business robberies, car theft and the theft of bins, are some of the priority crimes,” he said.
He encouraged the community to follow the police’s safety tips to not become a victim of crime. He asked business owners to be vigilant, and not withdraw large amounts of cash from the bank, as many have been followed and robbed.
He also encouraged residents to tell their neighbours when they will go on holiday, so that they can help to take letters from their post boxes, for example.