Silvertown residents took to the streets on Sunday January 23 to voice their concerns about the escalating crime in their community.
Over the past month there have been sporadic shooting incidents. On Thursday January 20, a business robbery in the area also involved the kidnapping of the owner’s 16-year-old son. The teen has since been found unharmed.
The march, which was organised by the Silvertown Neighbourhood Watch, with support from the Bridgetown and Parktown neighbourhood watches, had quite a few residents joining, despite the sweltering heat. Some followed the march in their cars.
Latief Clarke, chairperson of the Silvertown Neighbourhood Watch, said the escalating crime had become “quite worrying”.
“Silvertown has never experienced something like this before. Kidnapping, hijacking and shootings did not happen until recently. The community has been very peaceful, as it is mostly people who are retired who live here. The march was an opportunity to voice our concerns and to send a message to the perpetrators. We don’t want this in our or any other area, for that matter. We also want SAPS to take note of this, and we demand regular patrols,” Mr Clarke said.
He added that the areas of concern included the corridor between Blossom and Petunia roads, as well as Olympic Crescent.
On Thursday January 13 a shooting incident was reported in Olympic Crescent and on Sunday January 16, another shooting occurred in Petunia Street. There were concerns that these incidents could be gang or drug-related.
Sharon Classen, the chairperson of the Athlone Community Police Forum (CPF), said the community’s concerns were justified.
“Crime is on the increase, but more worrying is the type of crime, such as robberies and hijackings. With the development of Vangate Mall, more exit routes were created, so many of the perpetrators escaped through Silvertown. Another concern is also that there are no CCTV cameras in the area,” Ms Classen said.
Athlone SAPS spokesperson, Sergeant Zita Norman, said that it was good that the residents were taking a stand against crime.
“The march can be seen as the community’s response to prevent or minimise crime in the area. They have our support,” Sergeant Norman said.