Crime hotspot targeted

2015-05-05 06:00

A short-term plan to establish a permanent law enforcement presence at a crime hotspot is aimed at warding off criminal elements in Parkwood.

The Parkwood Community Forum (PCF), which was formed just over a year ago, says they have had enough of shooting and gang-related incidents occurring in their neighbourhood.

Religious leaders and stakeholders in the community gathered at the Parkwood Community Centre on Wednesday 25 March to come about a safety plan for the crime-ridden area.

Chairman of PCF Paul Philips said the community was struggling with a huge challenge owing to gang violence.

“The fact of the matter is that we have a problem in Parkwood. Our biggest problems at the moment are gangsters and the escalating crime in our neighbourhood,” Philips said.

During the meeting it was decided that a short-term and long-term solution was needed so residents felt safer in their neighbourhood.

“We have been tasked by this community to do something about the crime situation and because our forum has been established to listen to the grievances of our community, we need to adhere to this. This crime issue is not an issue that we can overlook because we are all affected by it,” Philips said.

As a result of the spike in crime in the area, Philips said crime has “got out of control”.

“Because crime has escalated to this level, what needs to be done is for a state of emergency to be declared. Parkwood is in a state of emergency because we cannot control this crime anymore. Our people are being shot at all hours of the day and night,” he said.

Those present at the meeting have called on the police to assist them in their fight against crime. Religious leaders stated that police need to “prioritise crime in our area”.

“We want our police to realise the problem we’re sitting on. Parkwood needs authorities to focus on our area specifically and they need to know that a drastic plan needs to be in place if we are serious about curbing crime in our area,” Philips said.

While discussing a short-term plan to immediately effect change in the area, it was suggested by resident Rashaad Ellen that a satellite station be set up in the area where the community could report crime and assist neighbourhood watches.

“We need to have a centre that is accessible to the entire community. If we have a central place in Parkwood where these criminals see there is police as well as safety agencies such as our neighbourhood watches, this should deter them from committing crime,” he said.

According to the forum, they sent an open invite to police about the meeting but they were not present.

However, Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says an invitation was not received.

Another religious leader from the community suggested that curfews be introduced once a state of emergency is declared in the area.

“Only once we have our community working together and abiding to curfews will we see a real difference. We need to be stricter to effect change or else all this will just fall flat,” he said.

Ward councillor Melanie Arendse urged the community to also take ownership of open spaces and parks in the area.

“The parks belong to our children but we see smoking and drinking happening there. This cannot be allowed and when our residents see this they should reprimand those practising socially ill activities in our parks,” she said.

A follow-up public meeting, of which a date is yet to be confirmed, will be held where suggestions from residents will be welcomed.


What should the forum include in their safety plan for the Parkwood area? What are your thoughts of the safety plan? Starting with the word “Post”, SMS your views to 32516. SMSes cost R1

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