Problem house headache in Parow

Two properties owned by the same man, which have landed on the City’s problem-buildings radar, are helping to fuel crime in Parow, say residents.

The houses at 40 Parow Street and 15 Carstens Street are, according to the City’s 2015 valuation roll, owned by Aliem Hendricks.

The City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith confirmed they were both problem buildings, although the City was still finalising its investigation into the Parow Street property. There were 95 problem properties in Parow, all in various stages of investigation.

Mr Smith said there were allegations of drug dealing taking place at both properties. He would not provide the owner’s details to the Northern News saying this information was confidential. Other attempts to contact Mr Hendricks proved futile and the problem buildings’ neighbours were not prepared to comment.

Mr Smith said the owner had been issued with several notices in terms of the Problem Building By-Law and a monthly penalty of R5 700 had been attached to his rates since February last year.

Trevor Kirby, the chairman of the Parow Crime Fighters, said drugs were being used in the houses.

”Small children living in those houses are being exposed to drugs every day. There are also too many people living in one house, with a lot of people visiting the houses at odd times of the day,” he said.

The police no sooner raided the houses than the drug users returned.

He is also worried about the safety of women, the elderly and children in the area. The problem houses, he said, were part of a much bigger crime headache plaguing the neighbourhood. Parks were no longer safe because vagrants slept and drank in them.

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“How are our kids supposed to enjoy the parks and have fun? We see elderly women in the parks with their grandchildren, but they get exposed to drinking and the homeless issue. It is not safe,” said Mr Kirby.

Robbers were also preying on people in Cloete Street, at Parow Station, and those who took the train were having to spend extra money to catch a taxi to where they needed to be because walking in the area was now too dangerous.

Peter van Schalkwyk, 46, has lived in Parow for five years. He said he has watched the area deteriorate over that time.

“We are no longer safe wherever we are. What is so sad for me, is that when you pick up your phone, or read the newspaper, all you hear about is bad news about robberies, people getting hurt and break-ins.”

He has three children who attend university and school and travel by public transport or foot.

“We have to either walk them to school or the station, but we cannot afford to put their lives in jeopardy with the chancers out there,” he said.

Amina Johnson was robbed of her cellphone last year while walking to Parow station She didn’t bother to report it to the police.

“It was so horrible. I would never want that to happen to any woman. These criminals have no regard for us and the hard earned money we work for.”

Roger Canon, chairman of the Parow Community Police Forum, is worried about the state of the houses in Parow and Carstens streets.

“The processes in getting these investigations take time, but even while the investigation is on-going the drug dealing just continues,” he said.

He the police also needed to improve their response times.

“The vagrants and criminals know the police take long so they can get away. We are aware and understand that there is a lack of resources, but service delivery needs to be on top of the priority list,” said Mr Canon.

Parow police spokesman Captain Kevin Williams said there had been a number of complaints about the homes in Parow and Carstens streets and the police patrolled there regularly and had made some arrests.

The Parow police precinct is divided into three sectors, and each has its own visible policing van with an assigned sector manager working with the community.

Asked how many vans the station has, Captain Williams said that they “have enough vehicles to service the residents of Parow”.

The station had a standard 15-minute response time, but that could be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, he said.