Glenwood, Umbilo residents take a stand as break-ins increase three-fold

2014-05-19 00:00

A THREE-FOLD increase in break-ins in the Glenwood and Umbilo area has forced the community there to launch a programme to prevent the purchase of stolen goods.

The affected communities are already dealing with high levels of prostitution and drug-related offences having launched programmes and community-led security groups to tackle the sex trade and lobby the eThekwini Metro to intervene.

Umbilo Community Police Forum chairperson Ben Madokwe said the “spike in housebreaking” could be linked to the metro’s inner city clean-up. Scores of homeless people have been driven out of Albert Park, nicknamed Whoonga Park, in the CBD to Botha’s Park at the bottom of Berea Road.

According to the SAPS, criminal activity in the area has “surged” upwards in recent months compared to 2013.

“There may be a link between those being driven out of the CBD to Botha’s Park and the increase in petty crime. What we have also found is that items stolen from households are often sold within the same neighbourhoods. Sometimes a cellphone for instance — worth several hundred rand — is sold for just R20,” said Madokwe.

He said through a “social partnership” between schools, churches and a collaboration between private security firms ADT and Blue Security, they would embark on a three-month awareness programme.

The initiative has also been supported by the Durban Metro Police.

“We are asking people to ask more questions before buying a second-hand item, to be more aware of who is selling it to them and report suspicious activity to the police,” said Madokwe.

Umbilo SAPS communications officer Sergeant Beverly Manqele said this initiative was part of a wider programme of “winning the community over”. She urged residents to form community watch organisations and to work closely with the CPF and SAPS.

Blue Security special projects manager Stephen Wimborne said the people working in security are as much a part of the community as anyone else.

“It makes sense to become a part of the solution and community-driven initiatives. As security companies our role is not just to protect and secure. We are also members of these same communities and have an obligation to be involved,” said Wimborne.

The programme is to launch at 6 pm on May 27 at Port Natal High School, with awareness campaigns to follow at various shopping centres.


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