Residents voice grievances

Brackenfell polices first quarterly imbizo was well attended.

Some of the 40-odd residents who attended a community meeting held by the Brackenfell police, last week, aired their grievances with police.

The meeting at the Gene Louw Traffic College on Thursday February 16 will be one of four quarterly “imbizos” this year, according to Brackenfell police spokeswoman Captain Erica Crous.

She reminded those with gripes about bad service at the station to fill in forms before leaving so their complaints could be investigated.

Station commander Colonel Willie Joseph told the audience that Brackenfell’s crime was low compared to the statistics for other areas in the Tygerberg cluster.

Even drug-related crimes, usually among the highest categories in other areas in the cluster, were relatively low, he said.

The biggest crime categories were common assault, motor-vehicle theft and theft out of motor vehicles, he said.

“First, we’ll get reports of ‘my hard drive was stolen’; then later, ‘my leather jacket’; then ‘laptop’. Where was it? On the seat,” he said, before repeating police’s frequent warning of not leaving valuables lying visible in the car.

The station, he said, was concerned about five cases of perjury resulting from people reporting false crimes.

The owner of a well-known business in the area, he said, had reported losing R100 000 in an armed robbery, but later it emerged he had lied.

“He lied till in the court,” Colonel Joseph said, adding that perjury wasted police resources and skewed statistics.

Community police forum chairman Sean McCleland pointed to a spike in drunken-driving arrests.

“We received complaints from residents in Brackenfell of places where drunken driving is very prevalent,” he said.

Police then set up roadblocks and “caught regular drunken drivers”.

“I’d rather have them sitting in a cell than behind the wheel and putting other drivers at risk,” he said.

Mr McCleland called for a strengthening of the victim support services so people would feel more comfortable reporting domestic violence.

“We’ve got to find ourselves in the position where the community feel they can trust the victim support programme.”

Brackenfell resident Nick van Rooyen, who works with Doing Good Better, which rehabilitates homeless people, said there was no “quick fix” for homelessness but partnerships and residents sharing information on homeless people’s movements had helped to reduce the number of street people in the area from about 200 to 60 over four years.

Asked if the station was recruiting enough reservists, Captain Crous said they had six applications following a recent recruitment drive but it was not enough.

“We do need to enlarge the numbers,” she said.

“Join the reservists, it can really make a difference in the community.”