State of urgency declared

2015-05-05 06:00

Following the death of a 28-year-old woman in Eastridge, the community police forum has declared a state of urgency in the area.

Three streets – now termed the red block – have been plagued by a turf war and numerous incidents of violent crimes.

According to Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Abie Isaacs, Zebra Crescent, together with Klipspringer and Katdoring streets, form the block and is now regarded as a high priority area.

Commenting on a recent protest held by residents who say they have had enough of the ongoing violence, Isaacs says: “We want to commend the community on taking ownership of their streets,” Isaacs says.

Brigadier Cass Goolam, Mitchell’s Plain station commander, says this is a step in the right direction.

“The murder of the 28-year-old woman caught in the crossfire is only a symptom of the scourge of gang conflict in Eastridge and Tafelsig,” Goolam says.

“However, the whole scenario is a symptom of the prevailing community’s mindset in parts of Mitchell’s Plain where community members condone the criminal actions of their children and going to the extent of protecting them against prosecution,” he continues.

Since the killing, Goolam confirms that police patrols have been increased.

“It is true that police patrols have increased. However, no amount of policing can build character in the children of the affected community; only the affected community can do that,” he says.

Goolam says their aim is to do all they can in partnership with the CPF and neighbourhood watches.

“If residents are to be part of the solution and not the problem they need to join the partnership structures,” Goolam says.

And they did just that. On Saturday 28 February, residents of the neighbouring block called an urgent meeting and elected a street committee.

This is a step in the right direction, says Isaacs.

The residents of the “red block” have also taken steps to ensuring their streets are safer.

“Residents have asked the CPF what they can do to ensure the lane leading to Katdoring Street is closed. We have already started looking into the request,” Isaacs says.

It is alleged the lane is used as a getaway after shootings.

City of Cape Town transport mayco member Brett Herron says no formal application has been received.

“Once an application is received, the potential closure can be assessed. Lane closures in Mitchell’s Plain have been implemented as the particular thoroughfares were found to facilitate crime and anti-social behaviour. This, however, must be balanced against the access requirements of the community,” Herron says.

He explains the closure of lanes that are imperative to a well-functioning movement system should not be supported.

“The protection and preservation of lanes that are well trafficked, are used by special needs pedestrians and provide immediacy of access to important activity generators or end destinations – public transport facilities fall into the category [of lanes that can not be closed].”

Herron also says the closure could be beneficial to the crime problem.

“Pedestrian movement through these lanes provides a window of opportunity to thieves as it isolates their victims. Closing all lanes other than those crucial to pedestrian movement will close this window,” he concludes.

Residents are urged to join the security structures such as street committees and the neighbourhood watches. For more information phone Isaacs on 082 314 6772.V

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