Bunking kids in target

2015-10-20 06:00
The Grassy Park police have embarked on a project to prevent crime in the area. The project is aimed at keeping youth in school so they may stay out of the grips of criminal activity.  

chevon booysen

The Grassy Park police have embarked on a project to prevent crime in the area. The project is aimed at keeping youth in school so they may stay out of the grips of criminal activity. PHOTOS: chevon booysen

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A new initiative, focused on integrated crime prevention, kicked off in Grassy Park last week.

The initiative has started in Parkwood. It has already had success there and been welcomed by residents.

The sector 1 subforum, and its visible policing van, patrol the area for children who should be in school.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says the patrols started on the first day of the new school term on Monday last week.

Police went into the area, picking up children who played truant.

“The initiative is part of our integrated social crime prevention tactic, which will see children off the streets and at the end of the day attending school. We have embarked on patrolling the area just looking for kids who should be in school and to find out why they are home, either playing truant or just not attending school,” Kleinsmith says.

Police say they are concerned for youngsters in the area as they are used for criminal activities and recruited into gangs at a young age.

“Gangsters will see these children at home during the day and take advantage of that. They know these children are vulnerable and they make all sorts of promises to the children with flashy new clothes and shoes. Before they know it, they are caught up in gang activity and by then it is already too late,” Kleinsmith says.

The initiative was shared with the community at the monthly community police forum meeting on Tuesday night, where it was welcomed by the attendees.

Police station commander Colonel Shawn van Wyk said at the meeting they would be tackling social issues in the area from grassroots level.

“When you live in a society where a mother says she has no say with her nine-year-old child, then we must know things are getting out of hand. We picked up this nine-year-old boy on our first day of the project and when taken to his parents’ home the mother told us that she couldn’t control him because he did what he wanted,” Van Wyk said.

He added the boy was taken to the social service centre in Victoria Road, Grassy Park where he was assessed. Plans are now being made to have the boy rehabilitated and placed at a school.

“With this approach toward crime we are positive that we will see change in the area. The situation in our precinct should improve if we focus on our youth and then branch out from there,” Van Wyk said.

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