Imbizo tackles crime

2018-09-18 06:00
Colonel Shawn van Wyk, station commander for Lansdowne Police Station.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

Colonel Shawn van Wyk, station commander for Lansdowne Police Station.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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Local police in conjunction with the community policing forum (CPF) held an imbizo last Tuesday to hear and discuss concerns of local residents.

The public gathering took place at The Venue in Imam Haron Road and was attended by more than 200 residents from Lansdowne and surrounds. The meeting also saw a review of projects done by the CPF and the police, in conjunction with local organisations in the area.

Rafique Foflonker, chairperson of the Lansdowne CPF, explains the imbizo gave residents the chance to hold the CPF and police accountable for service delivery in the area and to raise issues they felt were of importance­.

Residents were introduced to several new campaigns set to tackle school safety in the area with a special focus on stranger danger, bullying, cyberbullying, online safety and drug awareness.

A campaign to tackle the ongoing activity of prostitution was also discussed with the residents. Lansdowne Road, a hotspot for such activity, was among several streets mentioned during the discussion as areas that require attention.

“The impact prostitution has on society is that it is a concept that promotes the idea that people are objects and commodities for abuse, personal entertainment and instant sexual gratification through the use of money as a coercive currency.

“The buyer has the means and the power to alleviate another person’s plight. However, he chooses to abuse and exploit another human being, also referred to as the seller. The seller is not always innocent, but succumbs to coercion for need or desire.

“There is continuous patrolling in the area, but there is not much we can do to stop prostitution. In order to prosecute these buyers and sellers, we need to catch them in the act. Law Enforcement gives these individuals fines, but we find that they are not paying it. They will go to jail and come out, and then keep doing it,” explains Foflonker.

The new “Sex Buyer, Beware”campaign is a civilian street-level programme aimed at discouraging buyers and pimps from doing business in Lansdowne.

Foflonker says this will be done by monitoring the sex buyers in public, then disrupting and exposing the transaction using lawful approaches to discourage the practice.

“We will also develop programme governance and evaluation processes, develop operating guidelines, train and resource members, and develop marketing plans for greater visibility and programme awareness and by hanging billboards and signs to discourage prostitution in affected areas.

“We want to make a change and the only way we will know this has happened is when prostitution dies out in Lansdowne and surrounding areas. The buyer is the one who influences their trade and if we can discourage them we can close the prostitution market­.”

Colonel Shawn van Wyk, station commander for Lansdowne Police Station, was also present to give feedback on crime trends, analysis, crime prevention and visible policing in the area.

Van Wyk said earlier this year Lansdowne police had attended several workshops to tackle community issues, including programmes on trafficking, prostitution and domestic violence.

Residents were let in on the exact times and days for certain crime activities in the area, which include street robbery, housebreaking, and carjacking.

“Residents going and coming from work should be vigilant between 06:00 and 09:00, and 15:00 and 18:00 every day. These are the times most street robberies occur in our area.

“Some of the hotspots for street robberies include Clive, Lansdowne and Wetton streets as well as Old Strandfontein, Belgravia and Imam Haron roads.”

Concerns from residents included the ongoing activity of house robbery and housebreaking in Rondebosch East.

Van Wyk said since the arrest of one suspect involved in a house robbery last month (“Safety concerns for residents”, Peoples Post, 28 August), the activity in the area has come to a halt.

He urged residents to be vigilant and to work with both the police and CPF in order for crime to be eliminated.

After the programme, ward councillor Mark Kleinschmidt was honoured for his “continuous assistance and willingness to better the community”.

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