Rondebosch police let citizens have their say

The team that conducted the survey at Riverside Mall are from left, Captain Rantise Busisiwe, Chief Directorate: Strategic Management Head Office Pretoria, with the team of Chrysalis Academy students Masixole Cungwa, Khaya Ntshanga, Aphiwe Finini, Khangelani Mbatiwe and Nomhle Ntamnani.

It’s been a tough year for Rondebosch police station and they’re hoping that a Citizens Based Monitoring (CBM) survey will help them to pave the way forward, hopefully improving their service.

The CBM focuses on the experiences and views of citizens to strengthen accountability and service delivery, with responses remaining anonymous, allowing for freedom of expression without the fear of intimidation or victimisation.

On Wednesday September 14, members of the Rondebosch police allowed members of the public to complete the survey outside the Riverside Mall, using SurveyMonkey software, which was sent via email and WhatsApp groups to different community databases in the area.

Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam, spokesperson for Rondebosch police, said: “We need your help to maintain the safety and security of the Rondebosch neighbourhood. We urge the community to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour by people or vehicles to the station.”

He added that the five-minute survey was extremely important to help police plan accordingly.

“The purpose is to solicit the views and experiences of the Rondebosch community regarding police services as well as ideas on improvements,” Warrant Officer Sisam said.

In a year that saw Rondebosch police battling with challenges such as the Rhodes Must Fall and Fees Must Fall campaigns, which contributed to the safety on campus being under threat. Reflecting on the year, Warrant Officer Sisam said the survey, which is being carried out on a national level, was designed to highlight problems so they could be properly addressed.

He said the station commander at Rondebosch police remained concerned about the marked increase in contact crimes as property-related crimes were mostly reported at the station.

He confirmed that there were joint operations with various security partners in place to address the problematic areas, but encouraged the community to be vigilant when taking to the streets.

Another thorn in the side of Rondebosch police is the increase in vehicle theft, which Warrant Officer Sisam said could be linked to the number of cars parked on verges during big sporting events hosted at Newlands, when they often saw a spike in this crime.

“Some of the vehicles that were targeted were little motorbikes and old model vehicles which are broken up for spare parts,” he said.

Burglaries at apartments also increased, and in some incidents, more than one unit was broken into at the same apartment block.

Rondebosch police have therefore urged body corporates to do the necessary security checks to ensure that all vulnerable areas are secured.

The Rondebosch precinct was also rocked with two murders. One happened in March, when a 59-year-old taxi driver was shot while waiting for his customers in Burg Road, Rondebosch. The second incident took place in November 2015, in Avoca Road, when a 27-year-old Stellenbosch student died in hospital after he was brutally assaulted while leaving a Claremont nightclub.

“Policing common assault cases will remain a challenge as it happens behind closed doors at home and in clubs and pubs mostly when patrons are inebriated,” Warrant Officer Sisam said.

“Our overriding priority is to keep the Rondebosch community safe. We have been working well together with all partners in crime prevention. Policing operations and contingency planning remain under constant review until we stabilse crime on the streets.”

Warrant Officer Sisam thanked the public who participated in the latest survey and added: “We will give feedback after all the challenges and short-comings are identified. We trust to improve the quality and pace of service delivery to you, our community.”