Time to ‘become crime fighters’

2016-04-12 06:00

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has once again pledged her commitment to working with police in a meeting held between De Lille and provincial police management last Thursday.

“It is a great pleasure for me to be here today (Thursday) with the newly appointed Western Cape provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula.

Even though the primary mandate to fight crime belongs to the South African Police Service, the City of Cape Town has a crime prevention strategy which exists to support their work. We are here today in the spirit of cooperative governance to reaffirm our commitment to working with the SAPS to address the scourge of crime across our city,” she said.

Crime has a crippling effect on society, she said.

“It prevents school children from getting the education that they are entitled to. Crime prevents young people from living their dreams and accessing opportunities free from the pressure and lure of drugs and gangsters. It has the consequence of keeping us all locked in our homes to stay away from the danger, because criminals roam free on our streets. Crime robs us all of freedom, fairness and opportunity.”

She explains that all residents have a role to play in fighting crime.

The City has implemented innovative methods of deploying human resources to build a safe city. “Our specialised Gang and Drug Task Team has seen great successes through its intelligence-driven operations. This unit has been trained in international best practice,” she said.

Since November 2014, the unit has conducted 717 searches of private dwellings and 737 searches at City rental stock.

They have worked together with the K9 Unit and made 543 drug-related arrests and 362 general arrests. This unit has also presented 72 gang and drug awareness talks at schools, men’s clubs, universities and companies.

Last year the City launched the Stabilisation Unit, which is a specialised unit that comprises 90 Expanded Public Works Programme workers.

“They have received training in saturation policing and, since December, they have been deployed to gang-ridden and volatile areas as the need arises. Thus far they have searched 825 houses, arrested 388 suspects and confiscated 2 417 units of drugs,” says De Lille.

“As an investment into protecting the future of our children, we have employed 36 school resource officers. We can have the best schools and teachers, but if gangsters, crime and drugs prevent learners from coming to school, then the opportunities we make available will be in vain.”

These officers have been deployed to 18 schools in areas such as Mitchell’s Plain, Hanover Park, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Delft and Nyanga.

According to Section 64C of the South African Police Service Act, an annual policing plan must be developed by the executive head of the municipal police service after consultation with the South African Police Service and relevant community policing forums (CPFs).

“We are drawing up the 2016/17 plan for submission to Lieutenant General Jula to be ready by the end of April,” says De Lille.

“I would like to invite the public to submit their input into our Annual Police Plan until 23 April 2016. They can do so via e-mail submission to mayor.mayor@capetown.gov.za. Alternatively, they can submit their ideas in the suggestion boxes at the following four Metro Police depots: Bonteheuwel, Central City, Khayelitsha and Philippi.”

De Lille thanked those who have joined them in fighting crime as part of street committees, CPFs and neighbourhood watch organisations.

This financial year the City spent R2.3m supporting hundreds of neighbourhood watches with community-based crime prevention training and issuing of equipment, which includes bicycles, torches, patrol jackets, reflective bibs and first-aid kits.

Over the next two weeks 450 two-way radios will also be distributed as an extra measure of support.

“Just this week, I met with an all-women street committee in Lentegeur, called Bay Watch. They are all mothers who have decided that they will no longer allow gangsters and drugs to steal their children from them. I would like to commend and thank them and other committees like them who are doing what they can to fight crime.

“We cannot prevent crime alone. This scourge requires all of us – the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, the SAPS and residents – to play a part. Let us all make use of this opportunity to become crime fighters in our own right.”

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