Neighbours clash

2015-09-01 06:00
Neighbourhood watch members and police stand outside a house in 8th Avenue, Lotus River which has been a cause for concern in the area. 

Chevon Booysen

Neighbourhood watch members and police stand outside a house in 8th Avenue, Lotus River which has been a cause for concern in the area. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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Residents living in 8th Avenue, Lotus River are very pleased after police responded to complaints about a problem property in the road on Friday evening.

Under the charge of the main neighbourhood watch body in New Horizons, other neighbourhood watches (including Buck Inn, Eagle Park, Lotus River and Central Park) joined an operation that started with Grassy Park police sector manager Sergeant Isaacs just before 22:00.

The operation was spurred on by a meeting held at the St Clement’s School hall on Thursday evening, in which residents aired their frustration, saying they feared the occupants of the property after being harassed.

Resident Naaim Ismail said he had already suffered “huge losses” due to the unsavoury characters hanging around the house.

“I have had several break-ins at my home and the most recent one cost me R28 000. We are all fed up with the activity at this home and we want drastic action to be taken,” Ismail said at the meeting.

According to residents at the meeting they have been targets of verbal abuse from residents at the house as well.

“You cannot speak to these people because they get defensive and immediately threaten you if you say anything their way. Our children are not safe living like this. Since the people who live in the home moved in there, we have had endless problems,” residents echoed in the hall.

Residents added they had approached police for help but had not received any.

“Our sector manager is never around when we ask for assistance. Even when they do respond, these people swear at the police and have no respect for law and order,” Ismail said.

Residents agreed with him, saying they had seen police coming to the property and arresting suspects after victims pointed them out, “but the very next day these people are out on the street again”.

“I witnessed police coming to the property one day with the victim who pointed out the suspect who stole a cellphone,” one resident explained. “The policeman asked the suspect to hand the phone back, which he did. The suspect then said to the victim: ‘Jy kan nog bly wees jy kry iets terug’ [you can be lucky you got something back] and handed the phone back to the victim. The suspect was not even arrested.”

Ward councillor Leslie Isaacs confirms he has received complaints about the property.

“I received complaints earlier this year with regard to this property and currently there is a process in place. The property is a deceased estate and attempts have been made to make contact with the deceased’s family,” Isaacs says.

He adds that when visiting the property on a few occasions he is never met with the same faces.

“Every time I got there it would be different people living there. There are only a handful of faces that are constant but for the rest you never know who actually belongs on the property,” Isaacs elaborates.

Residents say this adds to crime in the area as they can never be sure who belongs at the property.
“How are we supposed to know when we can alert police to suspicious people in the area when there is a constant change of faces and residents in the area? This is really cause for concern. We also know of smoking of drugs at the property while there are little children living there as well.”

While the operation took place, People’s Post accompanied police and neighbourhood watch members and saw more than three informal dwellings erected in the yard.
A group of residents who gathered outside the house to witness the operation were sworn at and threatened as police and neighbourhood watch members cleared the area.
Isaacs confirms a process is in place to have residents who do not belong on the property removed.

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