Residents in the Lansdowne police precinct were encouraged to be more vigilant and to familiarise themselves with the neighbourhood watch in their area, in an effort to curb crime during the festive season.
This was among the suggestions made at a Lansdowne SAPS and Lansdowne Community Police Forum (CPF) joint public meeting on Monday November 18.
Colonel Shawn van Wyk, the Lansdowne SAPS station commander, said because of a lack of human resources, partnerships between other law enforcement agencies and neighbourhood watches have proven to be effective.
“If you don’t belong to a neighbourhood watch, get to know who your co-ordinator is, or join the neighbourhood watch, so that you are aware of what is happening in your area. I would also encourage you to report all crime,” Colonel Van Wyk said.
Resident Cassiem Foflonker said he tried to report an incident, and was told there is no vehicle available to respond. However, when he drove past the police station not long after, he noticed official vehicles parked there.
In response, Colonel Van Wyk said they are working with neighbourhood watches to do patrols because of a lack of human resources.
“If you phone to report an incident, SAPS must respond. However, if it is possible, we ask that the residents come to the police station to report,” he said.
Lansdowne CPF chairperson, Rafique Foflonker, said they wanted the residents to come and ask questions or discuss their concerns, instead of them speaking about the projects they tackled. He expressed concern, however, for the lack of interest from the community to attend meetings like these.
Abdullatief Wentzel, from the Crawford Community Neighbourhood Watch, said one of the challenges in his area is that high school pupils loiter in a park until way after school started. He wanted to know how this situation can be dealt with.
Colonel Van Wyk suggested that Mr Wentzel approach the school’s principal and school governing body, adding that as SAPS, they can reprimand the pupils, but that they cannot make that a priority.
Rafique Foflonker said schools are struggling to deal with incidents like that, because parents do not attend meetings. He cautioned neighbourhood watches not to touch the pupils – not even by the hand. “Truancy is a problem, but cases like this are very sensitive,” he said.
He added that the Walking Bus initiative has proven to be effective in dealing with cases like that.
Residents were encouraged to send crime tip-offs, by sending a WhatsApp message to 082 778 6628. This number should not be used to report crime, it is only for tip-off and it is only available on WhatsApp.
Contact Lansdowne SAPS at 021 700 9000.