Good News: Police are keeping Katlehong safer

2013-09-23 08:00

Something’s going very right in Katlehong on the East Rand, but the police won’t say what.

Statistics released by the police this week revealed that the area’s murder rate had dropped from 85 in 2011/12 to 40 in the latest period ­under review.

It’s not the only crime category that’s dropped: attempted murder is down from 68 to 38, assaults fell from 525 to 356, carjackings fell from 47 to 31.

Home burglaries also fell marginally, from 495 to 415.

Katlehong’s residents have noticed the difference. Sure, it’s still a dangerous place – but the cops are visible and many residents praise the work they’ve done in the past year.

Several tell City Press that they have noticed increased patrols and that cop cars are frequent on the streets of Katlehong.

James Mantumbu, who sells fruits and sweets just opposite the police station, says he feels confident that the police are doing their job.

And while many South Africans neither trust nor sympathise with the police, Katlehong residents say they know their local officers are having a tough time dealing with drugs – particularly nyaope, which is new and destructive.

Oupa Mokhele says it’s nyaope users who are guilty of most crimes in the township, and the police are “trying their best” to arrest ­users and dealers.

Bheki Kubheka of community ­organisation Men As Safety Promoters – which falls under the control of Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko’s office – says crimes like carjackings and ATM bombings are “substantially” down.

“The tactical-response team, together with the sector-policing units, have played a prominent role in the fight against crime.”

But trying to get the police themselves to explain their successes is impossible. A helpful police officer, parked in his car at a petrol station, directs us to the station.

There, we are told that only the cluster commander can answer questions about the statistics. He’s unavailable, perhaps indefinitely.

Oh well. At least his officers are on the streets, doing whatever it takes to make Katlehong safer.

The statistics speak for themselves.

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