Walkabout nets four for drugs

2015-09-22 06:00
A law enforcement officer and neighbourhood watch Member inspect confiscated drug apparatus.

PHOTOS: 
samantha Lee

A law enforcement officer and neighbourhood watch Member inspect confiscated drug apparatus. PHOTOS: samantha Lee

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A sea of blue uniforms, sirens and torches flooded Strandfontein in a two hour long crime prevention walkabout.

On Thursday, Strandfontein volunteer safety structure members stuck to their word to address the drug scourge in the area in the walkabout.

This was a follow-up operation, supported by law enforcement, police, Metro police, Scorpio Security, local ward councillor Elton Jansen and mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.

Last week, the community police forum were joined by MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, Metro police director Robbie Robberts, Pagad and neighbourhood watch members following a similar route (“Residents warn drug dealers”, People’s Post, 15 September).

On Thursday evening the group visited the same homes and affected four drug-related arrests.

After visiting six houses, the officers arrested two women for possession of dagga, a man in possession of dagga and a repeat arrest for the possession of mandrax and heroin.

Smith says he would like to see at least four of the Strandfontein Neighbourhood Watch Members trained as part of the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement auxillary officers project.

“It pains me to see none of you in your own law enforcement uniforms, exercising the same powers they have,” he said referring to the law enforcement officers present.

He says he is always available to assist community police forums and other safety structures.

He says they hope to receive additional funding to propagate the City’s five-step plan.

“I was invited to come here two weeks ago and could not attend. I asked them for another date and now here I am,” he told People’s Post.

The group visited several problem buildings and issued warnings to repeat offenders.

A shop owner was forced to close his doors for the evening after not adhering to a warning.

The owner was issued with a fine on Tuesday for not having his business licence present.

When officers visited on Thursday, he still did not have it with him.

Smith once again warned him before ordering him to close up shop.

He also started the process to declare a house as a problem building.

The house burned down earlier this year and has already been reoccupied despite the fact that it has still not been rebuilt.

Smith said: “Tonight I am just here to see whatever they want to show me and also to visit some hotspots. I walk with neighbourhood watches every second or third week.”

In a statement released by Smith’s office, he applauds the efforts of Strandfontein residents.

“Strandfontein Village has proactive community safety structures in places, including the Community Policing Forum, 102 neighbourhood watch members, 85 block watches and 185 street committees. The community policing forum hosts a number of public awareness initiatives on an ongoing basis, while the neighbourhood watch has increased its patrols both in the suburb but also along the coast, with the assistance of the street committees,” he says.

Sandy Schuter thanked DOCS and the mayco member for their interest in the area.

She says she was excited to see their efforts paying off, and hope to make more progress with this approach.

“We were so excited to see that in the last six months we closed two drug dens in the area. We were glad to see those houses completely empty,” says Schuter.

Smith says the City will work with the local police to increase the number of visible patrols and search and seizure operations to address the gang and drug issue.

“However, we need the community to work with us and blow the whistle on criminal activity. We have an informant reward system in place that pays up to R1 000 for information that will lead to an arrest and successful conviction, but also for the recovery of stolen goods and City infrastructure,” he said

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