The burgeoning demand for policing in rapidly growing Table View is just one of the many hurdles which have been carried over into the new year for law enforcement agencies, says police spokeswoman Captain Adriana Chandler.
“One of the major challenges Table View SAPS faced last year is that the area was, and still is, growing and the demand for policing increases along with it,” she said.
A major concern for the police last year was the number of assaults related to domestic violence.
“Assault is a difficult crime to police, therefore creating awareness is one of the ways of addressing this type of crime,” said Captain Chandler.
Domestic violence, she said, was often thought to include only physical violence, but the nature and frequency of the crime could vary greatly.
She advised victims to seek protection orders, which outlined the conduct the respondent should refrain from. Those violating a protection order faced arrest.
Captain Chandler said theft out of motor vehicles was another problem, as people were still leaving cameras, GPS units, laptops, cellphones and clothing in their cars.
Table View Neighbourhood Watch spokeswoman Lee McBride agrees that this crime is still a major headache, and unnecessarily so.
“People need to really be more aware of not leaving valuables there for potential criminals to see,” said Ms McBride.
Captain Chandler said good partnerships with traffic authorities, law enforcement and neighbourhood watches were behind many of the arrests police made.
“The alertness of the community in reporting suspicious activities in their neighbourhood has also led to numerous arrests. Suspects were arrested for theft out of motor vehicles, house break-ins, robberies and murder,” she said.
Captain Chandler said major crime areas were those around Marine Circle, Gie Road in Parklands, Parklands Main Road, Raats Drive and Porterfield Road. Thefts at pubs were also common as well pickpocketing at malls.
Neighbourhood watches remained the eyes and ears of the police and security companies had also helped to apprehend a number criminals last year, said Captain Chandler.
Ms McBride said public education played a huge role in the fight against crime, and it was often small things, such as stashing valuables out of sight, remembering to lock your doors and not flashing a cellphone when walking alone, that could keep you from becoming another crime statistic.
It was also worrying, she said, that many burglaries and robberies went unreported.
“If cases don’t get reported, the same people will commit the same crimes elsewhere. We have to make criminals aware that our areas are not easy pickings.”
Contact crime was rising, she said, warning MyCiTi passengers to be alert at bus stops.
“Unfortunately, at a bus stations like Gie Road there is an easy escape for criminals, and when people get off the bus and talk on their cellphones, they become oblivious to what is going on around them.”
Ms McBride urged more people to join their neighbourhood watches.
City law enforcement officer Wayne Aldridge, who is the acting head of the law enforcement office at Eden on the Bay, took part in a clean-up at two informal camps in Table View on Saturday.
He believes there should be a zero-tolerance attitude towards vagrancy and the public should establish the number of homeless living in their neighbourhoods.
“One needs to establish how lucrative it is for vagrants to be in your area – in other words, not to support them.”
Abiding by the City’s “Give responsibly” policy would prevent vagrants from maintaining “their current lifestyle”, he said.
“At the clean-up, I engaged with some of the vagrants and found one who had been in prison for seven years and was now out of prison for three years.
“Although he has a home elsewhere, he is scared to live there, as he claims his life is in danger, thus he lives he lives on the streets.
“As far as the approach to street people is concerned I prefer to use the term ‘managing’ street people rather than ‘policing’ street people.”
He said the public were often in the dark about what law enforcement could and could not do. “So the first priority is establishing a relationship between the community and telling them what law enforcement is all about, which will be done in future meetings,” he said.
He also asked residents to give their bric-a-brac to charity instead of to informal street traders.
“One of our greatest challenges is dealing with the informal trading on Sandown Road (next to West Coast Village). We keep on removing the goods. But every day I can remove stuff, but tomorrow they can get a whole new line of stuff from the community.”
* More information on domestic violence is available on the SAPS website: www.saps.gov.za