THE Port Alfred Community Policing Forum (CPF) met at the Port Alfred SAPS offices on Tuesday afternoon where a planned open public meeting on crime prevention was discussed.
The meeting is scheduled for May 10 at Port Alfred High School and will involve Port Alfred CPF, SAPS, security companies and other role-players. Concern was, however, expressed that the planned mayoral imbizo for Ward 10 will take place at the same time.
CPF chairman George Galbraith considered other options but eventually decided to retain the date and time and give residents an option as to which meeting they should attend.
Overall, according to the figures presented for January and February, property crime had dropped a little from month to month, possibly due to there not being as many visitors to the area following the festive season holidays. Still, it was reported that Sector 2 was not as quiet as other sectors.
“It could be to do with the roadworks,” suggested Port Alfred station commander, Colonel Lizette Zeelie.
“It is easy for anyone to purchase a reflective jacket and stand with the legitimate workers while they are casing the home or office,” she said, having observed that crime seems more prominent wherever the roadworks are located along the Southwell Road.
Contact crime for February was also down on January’s figures. Integrated crimes, however, had increased.
Looking at crime by sector gave a slightly different perspective in that overall crime stats showed an increase in all sectors except Sector 4 where there was a decrease.
Sector 1 is the CBD, Sector 2 is the West Bank, Sector 3A is the East Bank and Sector 3B is Station Hill. Sector 4 includes the farms in the area.
SAPS has directed that all cases of domestic violence must be reported and followed through.
“A lot of women don’t want to report domestic violence whether because of shame or a hope that things will get better,” said Zeelie.
“Victims cannot be forced to open a case, but those incidents involving firearms must be reported.”
Communication in the sectors
Galbraith pointed out that there are currently a number of groups on WhatsApp and that these seem to be working well in informing SAPS, CPF, the security companies as well as locals of suspicious behaviour or actual crimes taking place.
“It is not for the CPF to dictate which applications to use for these groups,” said Galbraith. “If some groups use the Link application, while others use WhatsApp, there is no problem, as long as the messages are getting to the right people.”
The Link application was recently rejected by Ndlambe Municipality council as the standard messaging system to report problems with service delivery.
Photographs of suspects
In Sector 2, where incidents of housebreaking or attempted housebreaking have taken place, WhatsApp users have asked if they can post pictures of suspected criminals. The answer was that published photographs of suspects was a contravention of the person’s rights and might hamper any criminal cases that might be opened.
Zeelie said that photographs of recently released or known offenders were available at the police station and could be viewed by the public by appointment.
There are a number of activities planned to help raise funds for the CPF, including a bowls tournament on May 25 at the Kowie Bowls Club. Galbraith asked that local businesses get involved and enter teams to compete.
Through MultiSecury’s Mike Millard, the Rotary Club has also planned to promote the CPF.