Crime can be crushed
Superintendent Ian Loubser of Parkview Police Station involves the community in fighting crime.
Get involved with your local police station and make a difference to crime levels in your area, say members of the police service.
Areas with active community policing forums have been shown to have a significant impact on crime reduction. Too often, however, residents and business people are uninterested in participating in local community organisations.
Responding to last week's City Beat article, Joburg Crime at All-time High, Superintendent Ian Loubser, commander of Parkview Police Station, said the many police officers and hundreds of civilian volunteers in Johannesburg who had been involved in efforts to combat serious crime in Johannesburg - "especially during the last year" - were having a significant impact.
In the Parkview policing area, forums had been created as part of the community policing programme to ensure every resident had at least one elected representative to whom information could be conveyed on a regular basis.
These included sector policing forums, a community policing forum, a domestic workers' forum, a restaurant forum, a school forum, and a community safety forum.
"The main task of sector policing, for example, is to address the root causes of crime. Each policing area is divided into smaller sectors, each with its own sector manager. So, if the street lights are out and this is encouraging criminal activity, the sector policing forum will ensure they are fixed," he said. However, more involvement from the community would yield even greater results.
"We are lucky if 80 out of about 113 000 residents pitch up at a public community policing forum meeting," he said. Ronnie Moos, long-standing chairman of the Norwood Orchards Residents' Association (Nora), agreed: "There is total apathy and lack of interest. Out of about 2 500 households, we have less than 200 members and just 40 pitched up at the recent AGM. We battle to put a 10-man committee together. We need people on the residents' association in order to represent the community on the policing forum". The Craighall / Craighall Park Ratepayers' Association, on the other hand, has 470 paid-up members, said chairman John Turpin.
"The association has a deliberate strategy to support the Parkview police and assist where we can. We fund the Domestic Workers' Forum, liaise with victims and ensure street lights are on," he said.
Superintendent Joe Odendaal, Sandringham Police Station commander, said community involvement, "without a doubt", played an important role in keeping crime down in the area. He said Sandringham's 73 police reservists, trained civilians who volunteered their time to help fight crime, did a "brilliant job". The community was also involved in an Adopt-A-Cop programme at schools, a victim empowerment programme and a Drug-Free forum. "A public meeting for just one sector of our policing area is attended by about 150 people," he said.
Captain Prem Naidoo of Yeoville Police Station, said its community policing forum, which had previously floundered due to lack of interest from the community, was now "up and about" with general meetings attended by between 100 and 200 people.
"The street watch and block watch committees are starting to have a positive influence on crime," he concluded.
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