Drug dens closed

2016-04-12 06:00
 Angry residents heeded the call and showed up to make their dissaproval of the drug trade known.

Angry residents heeded the call and showed up to make their dissaproval of the drug trade known.

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Strandfontein residents are taking back their streets and tackling crime head on.

Over the past few weeks, the Community Police Forum (CPF) has been challenging the drug scourge.

With the help of the residents and local neighbourhood watches, the group visited the local drug houses and spoken directly with the alleged merchants living in the area.

“I gave [them] several options to move out or rent the house out for a year, get him out and he’s willing to do just that,” Sandy Schuter says about one of the houses they recently visited.

The initiative follows meetings between the CPF and police management. “[We] have been called to several meetings, where the same thing gets discussed. Everyone is complaining about the increase in crime, with the expectation that it has to be sorted out within short periods of time after the meetings, whereas, many don’t really understand that its not that simple,” says Schuter.

Drug houses remained a hot topic. “Shutting down a drug house, takes drastic community action, in partnership with police, Law Enforcement, Metro Police and the Justice Department. I can assure the community that regular raids and search warrants are executed at the various problematic houses. Several arrests are made, but thereafter, its dependent on the justice department to execute their mandate,” says Schuter.

To date, three suspected drug dens have been closed.

“Police did not do this alone. The volunteer crime fighters played an active role in this,” she says.

Schuter says she was prompted to visit several houses by a community outcry.

At one of these houses, Schuter visited the area the night before and then urged the neighbourhood watch, CPF and police to mobalise on the corner, maintaining visibility. The group then also called on residents to join them.

“There was an average of 50 people, all expressing their dissatisfaction with the activity that has been taking place at this house. I screamed over the Loud Speaker, to the occupants in the said home, that the residents have had enough with the ongoing drug trade, ongoing fighting, allowing young girls from the community to hide out, this after worried parents report their kids missing.”

Schuter says they will not stop as they will continue to put pressure on departments to assist the community “to cripple the drug trade one drug house at a time.”

But Schuter maintains they also need community involvement.
“Don’t be incident driven by waiting for something to happen to you first before you join. I want to encourage residents to start a street or block committee, where you only patrol in your street or block or join the Strandfontein Neighborhood Watch who patrol the entire area,” Schuter encourages.

“Our hopes for this project are to not only raise awareness, but also expose all those involved by naming and shaming them openly and not ‘sugar coat’ when it comes to the truth,” she says.

“If you are involved in criminal activity, we are going to make it known to the community that you are dealing, openly and not on a social media page under anonymous and via inboxed messages.”

Schuter has further challenged other departments to join them but maintains they cannot do it alone. She says: “Be the eyes and ears of the police. Help Us, Save our Community.”

She concluded by thanking all volunteers for their assistance and sacrifices.

If you are interested in setting up a street or block committee contact Constable Luyt on 021 370 1501. To join the Strandfontein Neighborhood Watch email strandfontein.watch@gmail.com or for more information on the existing structures email strandfonteincpf@gmail.com.

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