'We’re held at gun point'

2016-11-01 13:09
Parkwood and Lotus River communities have been experiencing a spike in shootings over the past few weeks. Police have confiscated at least three firearms since the beginning of October.

Parkwood and Lotus River communities have been experiencing a spike in shootings over the past few weeks. Police have confiscated at least three firearms since the beginning of October.

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Gang and gun violence currently grip the community of Parkwood as the area deals with a spike in gang activity and shootings the past few weeks.

And despite police intervention to attempt to curb crime in the area by conducting regular crime operations with firearm confiscations and arrests, criminals still find ways to continue terrorising the community.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith says Lotus River has been experiencing sporadic shootings as well.

“[The police] can confirm that sporadic shootings have occurred in Parkwood and Lotus River area over recent weeks. The last incident reported in Parkwood was on 22 October,” Kleinsmith says.

On that day, Kleinsmith says, a 28-year-old man was shot in the buttocks.

She adds the victim knows the shooter but he is currently “evading arrest”.

Kleinsmith says earlier in October a 36-year-old man was arrested after he threatened another person with a firearm in 4th Avenue, Grassy Park.

“On Monday 3 October at about 17:45 a 36-year-old man was arrested on charges of pointing a firearm. This arrest came after the victim drove to Grassy Park police after he was threatened by the suspect. The complainant alleged while he was driving, the suspect stopped him but he ignored the suspect and continued driving. He heard the suspect swear at him and when he turned and looked around, he saw the suspect had pulled out a firearm and threatened him,” Kleinsmith says.

The firearm – a gas gun – was handed in at the police station.

On the same day an officer of the police crime prevention unit was patrolling in Viljoen Walk, Parkwood in the early evening.

“The officer saw a man hiding a bag in the grass. The officer approached the man and took him back to the bag. When opening the bag, the officer found two home-made firearms and two dagga bankies.”

A 21-year-old man was arrested on charges of possession of an imitation firearm and drugs.

Rumours have been doing the rounds that the sudden flare-up of gang violence in the area comes after a gang member was released from prison recently. But police say they cannot confirm if this is true and are also “not aware of the rumour”.

Kleinsmith says the affected community’s safety and security is on the police’s priority list as they have bumped up police presence in the area.

“Deployment has been sharpened up and officers are tasked with stop-and-searches, house searches and visible policing.”

Kleinsmith says at least three firearms were confiscated during the past month.

“For this month two home-made firearms were confiscated. One arrest was made for the firearm and another arrest was made for the possession of ammunition in the Parkwood area.

“In New Horizons, three suspects were arrested after a vehicle was searched and a firearm was found,” Kleinsmith says.

Lieutenant-Colonel Christiaan Esau, acting police station commander, says a festive season plan that includes police and other law enforcement agencies, has been drafted to deal with the holiday period up until January next year.

“The community is thanked for their contribution in the fight against crime. Grassy Park police will maintain a zero-tolerance approach to criminals and will focus on crime heavily dependent on police action and presence.

“In order to alleviate such crime it is best to remove the criminals from the community and bring them to book,” Kleinsmith says.

  • Grassy Park police are satisfied with a “good” sentencing of an alleged gangster from Parkwood on 18 October after police completed a lengthy investigation.
    The Parkwood man was found guilty of trying to murder someone during August 2013.
  • If you have any information relating to crime, call Grassy Park police on 021 700 3940 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

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