Lower attendance at Bathurst CPF

MORE than a month after the murder of Stephne Evans galvanised the Bathurst community to a huge turnout at the first Community Policing Forum that had been convened in 10 months, there were far fewer people at last week’s CPF meeting.

About 25 residents attended, along with two members of SAPS.

Detective Warrant Officer Stewart Abrahams went through crime incidents that had taken place since the CPF last met on June 14.

Incidents for Nolukhanyo included common assault, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery with a firearm, business robbery and one case of murder. The most prevalent crime in Nolukhanyo was housebreaking.

In the Bathurst village, crime included malicious damage to property, theft, assault and housebreaking – though far fewer cases than in Nolukhanyo.

Police action had resulted in 32 arrests over the period – six for crimes in the village and 26 for crimes in Nolukhanyo.

“Police action has been very strong,” Abrahams said.

Asked for an update on the Evans murder, Abrahams said the investigation was ongoing, but no arrests had been made.

A comment from the floor was that the more people who joined the crime watch WhatsApp groups, the better.

CPF chairwoman Mary Riley said residents needed to understand the difference between the groups.

“The emergency group is for ‘I need help right now!’ – for real emergencies, not chats or thumbs up,” she said. “The safety and security group is also not a chat group.”

She advised residents to rather use the Bathurst Forum group for chats, like community concerns about the dump, which came up in the meeting.

Other concerns raised were about delinquent children up to mischief in the village, including teasing dogs, dragging refuse bags into the bush and taking water from rainwater tanks on private property. Another issue was stray cattle.

One resident said most of the problems reported on the crime watch groups about dogs barking and strange noises related to stray cattle.

“Can we not sort this problem out? If the cows were sorted out half the problems would go away,” he said.

The police did not want to comment on the cattle issue.

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