Working together to reduce crime

Claremont SAPS members are, from left, Warrant Officer Daniel Mockey , Sergeant Liezel Wyngaard, Warrant Officer Ernest Wilkins, Warrant Officer Colin Geneke, Colonel Maree Louw, Captain Ashley Naidoo, Captain Nazeem Lutta and Hallam Ford from Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch.

The Claremont SAPS held an imbizo last Wednesday evening with the Claremont Community Police Forum (CPF), Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch and the public to address crime issues in sectors 1 and 4.

This was the first imbizo with new station commander, Colonel Maree Louw, who took over in January this year. Her previous experience include 11 years as station commander in Bredasdorp.

Crime was addressed in Sector 1 which includes Harfield and Claremont and Sector 4 which includes Kenilworth, Access Park and the Belvedere area.

According to the police, robberies, house robberies, firearm robberies, house break-ins and theft out of vehicles were the prominent crimes dealt with in those areas.

Hallam Ford, an executive member of Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch, who chaired the imbizo, addressed basic service delivery challenges.

One of the major issues was that telephone calls were not properly answered by the Claremont SAPS. Colonel Louw said Claremont SAPS only have four telephone operators who act as administrative staff and that shift changes may impact on the flow of answering calls. A solution that was suggested by SAPS and the CPF was that members and residents call the 10111 number because it records calls, it sees the address and if members of the public receive reference numbers, they can hold the police to account if they do not respond to the complaints.

When it comes to residents reporting crime, Colonel Louw said the police can’t refuse opening criminal cases when it was reported by the public. If a member of SAPS does not open a criminal case, they could be reported for misconduct by the colonel. When it comes to cases of a civil nature, SAPS will advise the public of where they can take their cases.

Claremont SAPS said regular interaction between the neighbourhood watch, the public and CPF can help in fighting crime together.

Abdul Kerbelker, chairperson of Claremont CPF, said the meeting is a good initiative as they could engage in constructive dialogue without pointing blame.

“This is the first time that Claremont SAPS have addressed the community with their issues that are outstanding; where they actually sat down and answered questions that have been a problem in the past four to five years,” said Derek Bluke, chairperson of Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch.

Warrant Officer Daniel Mockey who works in the Sector 4 area said they have made use of the MAX ID and PIVA System in fighting crime. The MAX ID is used at roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints where vehicle discs are scanned to see whether the vehicle is stolen or not . The MAX ID is also used as a mobile device to take fingerprints of a possible suspect.

The PIVA system is a static system at the station whereby all suspects’ information is loaded on the system to check whether the suspect is sought in connection with other cases. “It has resulted in great success with this system as a lot of long outstanding wanted suspects were found with this system,” said Colonel Louw.

While public attendance was low at this imbizo, Colonel Louw said in this instance it was mostly opening dialogue between the neighbourhood watch, CPF, councillors and security companies though they would like more public participation in the future.

Claremont SAPS have asked residents to report crimes to 10111 with their station number 021 657 2243 as a secondary number.

If residents have been involved in violent crimes they can contact 021 671 2502 to find out more about trauma counselling.

The Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch can also be contacted at 071 802 2454 which is their 24-hour emergency number.