Community gathers to fight crime

Kraaifontein Brigadier Gerda Van Niekerk.

Young people and community leaders met at a school last Friday to look for solutions to the crime in Kraaifontein.

Community police forum member John Smidt told the meeting of about 100 people at the Bloekombos Secondary School that the voices of Kraaifontein’s youth should be heard when looking for solutions to the scourge because they faced crime every day.

“Drop-outs and unemployment are major concerns for us in our community. Our youth get caught up in the wrong things and sell drugs as a form of income,” he said.

Provincial Youth Desk coordinator Thembi Gwe urged youth people to make positive changes in their communities, fighting poverty, unemployment and crime.

“A food garden or a clean-up drive will help keep our children off the street and stay away from crime.

“Food coming from the gardens can curb poverty or the fruits and vegetables that are grown can be sold and help solve unemployment.”

Crime stats released in September last year listed Kraaifontein police precinct among the country’s top-30 police stations for serious reported crimes (“Murder on the increase,” Northern News, September 19, 2018).

Youth between the ages of 14 and 24 were either “victims or perpetrators” of the crimes committed, Ms Gwe said.

“I am begging you young people to become one with the police. It is not only their responsibility to make changes in the community. Let’s work on becoming one with our police” she said.

Brigadier Gerda Van Niekerk, of the Kraaifontein police, thanked everyone for braving the cold, wet weather to attend the meeting.

“You could have been in bed, but you chose to show your support towards creating a better Kraaifontein and a better city.”

Cluster commander Major-General Moses Memela said each police station had a youth crime-prevention strategy to reduce the number of youths who committed or fell victim to crime.

“We cannot run it without the youth. The youth should be eager to be involved and work closely with SAPS and contribute to the fight against crime, “ he said.

He urged everyone at the meeting to encourage their communities to report crimes and tip-off police, anonymously on 08600 10111 or SMS 32211.

Community activist Kelly Baloyi said she had hoped for a better turn-out.

“Our people are not aware of what can be reported to police. Sexual offences are reported as far as rape, but our children and adults don’t know that they can report someone for touching them inappropriately.

“Children in communities are saying that police do not know how to deal with cases properly. Some say dockets get lost or it takes too much time for police to catch the criminals,” she said.