IN last week’s community policing forum (CPF), Sector 2 and Rapid Rural Response meetings held at the Port Alfred Police station, Sergeant Shaun Plaaitjies reported a decrease in crime for December compared to November.
Plaaitjies said it was not surprising as SAPS as well as the other role-players worked very hard to ensure a safe season.
The recent meeting was well attended and CPF chairwoman Heather Leicher commended all the members, SAPS, armed response and community representatives for their attendance.
The purpose of these forums is to inform the community on crime contributions and crime types.
Plaaitjies said fraud is growing in numbers as per cases reported but it is not always a “preventable crime” by the police. He referenced fraudulent sales on Gumtree or similar classified sites to be a big factor.
Property crimes are still high but decreased in December
Contact crimes such as common assault, rape, and assault with intent to cause grievous body harm doubled in December, but this is due to the influx of people in the area and many of the cases are “festivities related”. Property crimes are still high but decreased in December, while integrated crimes, which includes the entire spectrum of crimes committed, are down by seven cases.
Sector 1, the Port Alfred CBD, has seen a substantial drop in cases reported while Sector 2, the West Bank, has had an increase. Sector 3A, the East Bank, had less cases reported while Sector 3B – Station Hill and sections of the East Bank – has stayed relatively the same.
In terms of contact and property crimes, Sector 1 had an increase of one contact crime case while property crime cases have gone down by three cases. The crime analysis with reported cases for November and December 2016 was significantly higher than for November and December last year.
“This year we had a very successful project, it’s been a much better season with less crime” Plaaitjies said.
Leicher commended the police and Sky Alarms, MultiSecurity and Hi-Tec for their hard work over the period and said the community has come on board with sector policing and vigilance. “The more ears, feet and eyes, the better,” she said.
Port Alfred is one of five towns [in the Eastern Cape] that showed no increase in crime
Brigadier Morgan Govender was present for the meeting and said although the crime picture seems good; it was due to the effort of all residents. Govender said he was anticipating word from the provincial commissioner as Port Alfred is one of five towns that showed no increase in crime.
Govender also said that as crime is being reported, SAPs is paying attention to it. The notorious “bolt cutter”, a suspected repeat offender is going to court soon and four arrests have been made in terms of repeat burglars. “A lot of old suspects are out on parole, they do repeat crimes. Knowing faces helps,” Govender said.
Mike Millard from MultiSecurity reported crime incidents over the December to mid-January period. House break-ins reflect a similar number of incidents for December and January while attempted break-ins in January are already higher than December. As for homes which were broken into, four of these had no alarms activated.
Millard thanked new CPF member Anel Groenewald, who is facilitating crime awareness and vigilance WhatsApp groups for neighbourhoods within each sector.
WhatsApp groups for neighbourhoods … are not a panic button
Clinton Millard explained it’s a system that works well in Port Elizabeth with security company Atlas and each neighbourhood has a group they belong to. No person from a different area can be on that group and the group is used to report suspicious activity, alert authorities to tracing stolen items and maintaining security vigilance. However, it does not work as a panic button or method to report crime taking place. “Always phone the police or armed response first,” Clinton said.
Captain Hansie Slabbert said during the festive season there had been lots of communication by Govender. “All efforts contribute to success,” Slabbert said.
The Sector 4 responding officer reported zero incidents in the farm areas for January but had two thefts, two housebreak-ins and two cases of reckless driving in December.
“It has been the first December since 1985 that I have had no stock theft,” said CPF member Peter Charter.
I did not see one fight, not one stabbing, just very happy, intoxicated, but happy people
Leicher said she joined Colonel Lizette Zeelie on beach patrols on January 1 and was pleased to see orderly conduct. “I did not see one fight, not one stabbing, just very happy, intoxicated, but happy people,” she said.
Chief traffic officer Fred Cannon thanked Leicher for the lunch packs the CPF provided for on-duty officers and marshals during the New Year period, and reported for the season that his area of operations had had nine accidents, of which three were fatalities.
Cannon also warned that road users need to be extra careful at the roadworks between Port Alfred and Fish River. A new tarred section is open and has a barrier line so any vehicle seen overtaking another will be fined.
Sky Alarms reported a quiet season crime-wise with few incidents.