CPF urges residents to work together

Sector 1 Naeem Gabru, chairman of the Kuils River Community Police Forums Sector 1 sub-forum; Kuils River police officer Captain Isaac Van Niekerk; and Sector 2 commander Constable Tshepang Hoffman .

Kuils River police and the community police forum have warned of the threats posed by gang violence and robberies and urged residents to stand together to fight crime.

Naeem Gabru, chairman of Kuils River Community Police Forum’s Sector 1 sub-forum, said they had three focus areas.

“Firstly, it is building a close partnership and relationship with the police. Secondly, to create awareness and information sharing within the community. And thirdly, to build a strong foundation and structure within the CPF itself.

“That includes having processes, structures, forums in place and rebuilding some of the relationship with the neighbourhood watch in the area.”

Sector 1 includes Highbury, Park Danarand, De Kuilen, Kuils River Industria and Stellendale Village.

The biggest success this year, Mr Gabru said, had been rebuilding the partnership with the police.

“The partnership between the CPF and police is to a point where we doing joint initiatives in schools.

“We’re also doing it around crime preventions and also improving safety and security and community awareness.”

He said residents needed to take ownership of their communities and not only wake up when something happened.

“We are saying look to your neighbours that are surrounding you.”

The CPF had started WhatsApp groups, he said, through which residents could alert each other about neighbourhood happenings. Police officers were also part of the groups.

Mr Gabru said school pupils had been seen roaming the streets during school hours and the CPF was now working with schools in the area to make sure children got to class and stayed there.

And between 4am to 7am, CPF volunteers patrol crime hot spots — including the railway station, the CBD and Donkerhoek — to protect people going to work from losing their cellphones and wallets to robbers.

“We noticed that during the time we are patrolling, the crime decreases,” said Mr Gabru.

Kuils River police spokesman Captain Isaac Van Niekerk said people who reported crime also needed to be prepared to testify in court.

Captain Van Niekerk said that with help from the CPF for the last three months most crimes in the area had dropped, except for murder, which had risen because of gang conflict.

However, he would not give exact figures.

Constable Tshepang Hoffman is the commander of Kuils River police precinct’s Sector 2, which includes Kalkfontein, Sarepta, Voëlvlei, Mabille Park, Brandwood and parts of the CBD.

He is worried about school drop-outs in the area because they end up joining gangs.

The police, he said, had tried to tackle that problem by organising youth programmes and sport for children to keep them busy, even though the facilities in the area were far from ideal.

He said Kalkfontein was a hot spot for gang wars, and he criticised the residents there for being inactive.

“There are no forums there. All of the forums are dysfunctional. It is dominated by gang wars and alcohol abuse, which contribute a lot to physical abuse ,” he said.

Highbury resident Edmund Du Plooy said the CPF had done a lot to fight crime in the area.

“They have a strong relationship with the community which I believe it works for them. There are few break-ins and people can walk freely,” he said.