Crime spike a concern

2018-10-30 06:00

A resident of Harfield Village is alarmed by the recent rise in crime in the area and what appears to him to be poor service from local law enforcers.

Bruce Johnson says he has witnessed crime and his efforts to get immediate help from the police and the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch were to no avail.

“A few months ago at about 23:00 a driver on the wrong side of Second Avenue hit a parked car and smashed into a [local store]. A few onlookers including myself phoned the Claremont Police Station. They finally arrived at about 03:00! [Again] two weeks ago the cafe in First Avenue was robbed at about 10:30 for the second time in two months. The police were the last on the scene.

“The Claremont police take so long to respond that it is sometimes not worth bothering. HarLyn seem to make big promises but I am yet to see one thing that they have done besides telling people on various groups to ‘be vigilant’,” says Johnson.

The area has had several reports of prostitution, vagrants and robbery-related crimes in the past year.

However, the law enforcers mentioned gave some insight into what the reasons for the spike in crime could be.

Claremont Police Station commander, Colonel Maree Louw, says the festive season has started and crime is on the increase in all areas of Claremont. She advises the public to be vigilant “for especially street robberies, business and house robberies.”

Louw says the station is ready for the festive season and extra deployment will be made to be proactive.

She could not confirm whether the reports of poor service are true.

Louw says residents may lay a formal complaint if they are not happy with the station’s service.

“It is also advisable to take the number of the vehicle or the member’s name at the time of the incident of poor service. When they want to report a complaint to the police, [they must] please call the 10111 emergency line. This makes our task easier to investigate service delivery complaints, in cases where the vehicle takes long to attend to a complain­t.

“When members make themselves guilty of poor service delivery to the community they are disciplinarily charged to bring them up to a standard to serve the community better or face the consequences of being dismissed­.”

She says the station’s vehicles are equipped with a tracker system and when a complaint is investigated, officials track where the vehicle was at the time of the incident and why it took so long to attend to the incident.

“The required reaction time for the member to attend to a complaint is 15 minutes,” Louw explains.

Meanwhile, secretary of the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch, Alexia McCoy, says the watch provides a basic “eyes and ears” function and patrol to create deterrence. She says they are aware of the rise in crime.

“We are aware of the crime situation. We have in the last 10 days noticed a sudden increase in crime. These range in category and include attempted and actual home invasions.”

She encourages residents to continue using their number to report crime. She also says it would be better if they had more patrollers and volunteers.

“We wish we could have patrollers on every street, every day and night. We are the liaison between the police and Law Enforcement and the community. “Our volunteer members attend Community Policing Forum and police meetings, collate crime data and liaise with private security providers.” She says the watch is not a private security company or a private police force.V To join the neighbourhood watch, contact info@harlynwatch.org.za or 071 802 2454.

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