Hanover is 'hub of guns'

2015-11-24 12:26
Colonel Dennis Abels has started as the new station commander at Philippi police station.

Colonel Dennis Abels has started as the new station commander at Philippi police station. (Chevon Booysen)

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A new station commander has assumed his position at the Philippi police station.
And Colonel Dennis Abels, who has been in the police service for a few months shy of 30 years, says “Hanover Park will be a walk in the park”, as he is ready to tackle issues in the Philippi policing precinct.
Abels, who transferred from Khayelitsha police station two weeks ago, says he plans to assess the challenges that affect the area, especially Hanover Park which has been plagued with gang violence and shootings in recent weeks.
“As a priority I will be looking at the situation in Hanover Park. Section 205 dictates my mandate and that is to ensure safety. It will be a challenge, but we will have a multi-pronged approach in dealing with this issue,” he says.
“We cannot allow the minority to keep our communities hostage. Therefore I will be working on creating partnerships in the community. Communication channels have already been established by the previous station commanders and we plan to further build on that,” Abels says.
He adds that the multi-pronged approach will include targeting the root causes of crime in the area and this will be done by means of joint operations.
“We will be targeting those who are responsible. We have been working closely with law enforcement. We already started with these operations during my first week at the station. However, this will be a long and difficult process,” Abels adds.
He says residents in Hanover Park should grow a culture of cohesiveness in their community by reporting crimes in their area and not fear gangs.
“Although previous station commanders have worked with the community to obtain information relating to crime, there is still room for improvement. People should get involved instead of saying they do not want anything to do with crime-related issues,” he continues.
Abels confirms Hanover Park is the “hub of firearms”.
“This community is known for the proliferation of firearms and we are definitely going to focus on that. Guns are moving through our communities but thankfully our linkages are advanced and through ballistic testing we can link where firearms were used in criminal activities.”
According to Abels the police are focusing on the five gangs that are known in the area and they will “closely monitor all gang-related activity”.
“We cannot just focus on the bigger and known gangs. We will focus on all of them because the moment you take your eyes off the ‘smaller’ gangs, that’s when they take the gap. Our aim is to decrease gang-related activity in the area and I am sure we will do ourselves proud by accomplishing this.”
Abels says the police will be tackling the social aspects of crime as well.
“Every gangster comes from a home with parents. After we profile them we will attempt to engage with parents and find out where issues stem from that they feel they need to join gangs. We are looking at a holistic approach because we are losing too many people. One person lost to a stray bullet is one too many lives lost,” he says.
Abels says the police plan to engage with established NGOs and NPOs in the area to help in this regard.

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