Fence gaps invite crime

2016-02-23 06:00
A section along the railway line in Bergvliet which has not fence poses a lot of safety risk to residents.

A section along the railway line in Bergvliet which has not fence poses a lot of safety risk to residents.

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Members of the BKM Neighbourhood Watch from Bergvliet says the missing fence along the railway line has become a cause of concern as it is posing a safety risk.

The members say because of the missing fence it has become easy for criminals to commit crimes and get away through the broken fencing. They believe this wouldn’t be happening if Metrorail fenced all the areas.

In an effort to make sure that there is no easy route for criminals to get away they have been in contact with Metrorail, but nothing has come of it. They have had meetings but all they get is promise after promise whilst crime is getting out of hand in the area.

Last year they had a meeting with Metrorail, which told them the tender went out in October. But Metrorail was audited towards the end of last year, which halted any further progress in this matter.

However, those at the meeting were told a contractor had been appointed for the work but that it would take at least a month for them to be approved and to complete this work.

Once this approval was granted, it would take about two weeks to get started. But up to now they are still waiting and for them it feels they are waiting in vain.

Brian Wilkinson, chairperson of the BKM Neighbourhood Watch, says its unacceptable that crime is getting out of hand whilst Metrorail sits and does nothing.

“Crime is rampant in these areas without proper fencing; those living along the lines are being targeted daily. A lot of other people are using the gaps or openings which might result in serious accidents.

“This is unacceptable in view of the fact that the community’s safety is at risk. Recently we had an incident where the perpetrator escaped across the railway line and vanished. We don’t want a very serious incident to take place before this work is attended to,” says Wilkinson.

Stuart Buckley, chairperson of Simta Village Home Owners’ Association, laments the state of the station. “There is human waste lying around everywhere. The stink along our boundary is unbearable, people are just urinating everywhere they feel like it. 

Buckley further says drug dealing happens on a number of occasions. “We have reported this matter on many occasions. I am aware that a tender has been put out to have the problem solved but this has been like this for the whole year.
“We have been struggling with this problem for a long time. Residents have even had their washing stolen off their lines, and people are coming onto our properties from the station platform,” he says.

Riana Scott, Metrorail spokesperson, says the company acknowledges the residents’ concerns about crime.

Police must be involved as the primary crime-fighting force. The rail system does not function in isolation, it bears the brunt of displaced crime in the adjoining areas, she says.
Crime is on the increase in general and areas around stations and railway lines are unfortunately not exempted from this. Criminal elements have been known to access private property via public areas and generally residents are responsible for securing their own premises.
Metrorail does its utmost to replace or mend fencing as soon as it is damaged, but only if it has the budget to do this.

She explains that the purpose of railway fencing is to primarily demarcate boundaries and fencing will not deter wilful entry.

In many instances the fencing is still serviceable for its intended purpose. Fencing replacement and repairs are planned and prioritised on a yearly basis and depends on urgency or necessity. Due to the vastness of the area and resources available, replacement or repair has to be prioritised against other pressing and equally valid projects.
“A contract has been let to fence the area in question and the process will commence as soon as all supply chain processes have been complied with,” she says.

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