‘We’re unsafe in our homes’

Residents living near the Parow train station fear for their safety – there have been two murders in the same road in just under a month, but despite admitting that the area is a crime hot spot, police failed to tell the public about the slayings.

A man was shot dead in Louis Trichardt Street on Sunday June 5. This follows a similar incident on Sunday May 7 when another man was gunned down.

Residents say both shootings happened near a corner shop. They find it alarming that both killings occured in the same street, on a Sunday, a month apart from each other.

Northern News only heard about the murders from residents. Neither the police nor the Community Police Forum (CPF) alerted the media, and by extension the community, to the fact that two people had been shot dead in a public road next to a busy commuter hub.

Only after Northern News approached Parow station police spokesman Lieutenant Kevin Williams for comment did he confirm that both murders had taken place at about 10.30pm.

He claimed the crimes were unrelated and could not confirm whether or not they were gang related.

He said the area was a hot spot for crime and added that Parow police had adjusted their patrol times to have more visible policing in the area.

Asked why Parow police had not informed Northern News about the killings, he said: “All serious incidents are communicated with the provincial media centre”.

However, despite being on the provincial media centre’s mailing list, Northern News received no such update.

Parow CPF Forum chairman Roger Cannon said he knew about the two murders but had no further information on them.

He said the Parow train station had become a crime hot spot, especially for robberies.

Mr Cannon said the CPF had received many complaints from residents who were worried about their safety due to drug activity and vagrancy.

When asked about the ages and identity of the two men who were shot, Lieutenant Williams said his office did not have that information. Both men had gunshot wounds, but he did not know how many. No weapons had been recovered at the scene, he said.

One resident, Alison Moyce, 43, said there had been rumours lately of gang activity in Parow. Ms Moyce said her two small children often played outside. Now she plans to keep them indoors.

“We are unsafe in our own homes. We don’t know what to expect and when to expect it. How are our children supposed to grow up in an environment where they fear for their lives?”

Ms Moyce said she felt like she had to watch her back constantly, and she can’t understand why both killings happened in the same street.

Lieutenant Williams said no gangs were operating in Parow, but gangsters were known to come into the area from neighbouring communities such as Elsies River and Ravensmead.

He urged residents to be careful, especially at night.

A resident who has lived near the train station for many years was too scared to have her name published.

She said crime was getting worse and she did not feel safe in her home, never mind having to walk to and from the station daily to get to work.

“Now we have to constantly watch around us and make sure that we are safe in an unsafe area,” she said.

She had been out on Sunday May 7 and had learnt later about the murder in Louis Trichardt Street from her son.

“I was so shocked. I can’t believe murders are taking place right on our doorstep.”

She fears the area has become a crime hub and that drugs have become an insurmountable problem in Parow.

Resident David Gow is fed up with the state of security in Parow and is worried about the safety of the community’s women and children.

“Parow is high risk and has become a slum. People are scared all the time, they don’t feel safe,” said Mr Gow. “We need to get a plan of action in Parow. Must we wait until one day when our kids are lying dead in the street before anything is done.”

He said it appeared as if criminals could roam the area and hurt people with impunity.

“How can they just take things from people which is not theirs, and just hurt them. We cannot walk in the streets without watching our backs,” said Mr Gow.