“WE are living in a free country, but we are not free at all…” says Lt Col BM Zwane of the Vryheid SAPS.
“Crime is on the rise in our town,” he adds sternly as he addresses roughly 30 patrolling members of Vryheid Neighbourhood Watch who attended a meeting between Vryheid SAPS and Neighbourhood Watch at the Neighbourhood Watch headquarters in President Street. “We must work together. If we mobilise like this, together we can do something about it…”
This comes as a welcome call to the Watch as their attempts to build a working relationship with the police are finally bearing fruit and Zwane’s eagerness to engage with the organisation brings with it some hope for a positive outcome in this regard.
In his address to the patrollers, Lt Col Zwane points out the key focus points of local criminal activity and urges the patrollers to pay particular attention to these specific areas of concern.
Housebreaking, according to Lt Col Zwane, is a major concern in Vryheid. When comparing the incidence of housebreaking and burglary to the population of Vryheid, Lt Col Zwane points out that, proportionately, residents must be falling victim to this crime far too often.
“There are some who must be getting robbed twice, or even thrice,” he points out.
Warrant Officer Michael Nicholls, who has accompanied Zwane to the meeting, informs the patrollers of Vryheid Neighbourhood Watch of the modus operandi being used by vehicle thieves, who are also posing a persistent problem in Vryheid again. Officer Nicholls explains that these thieves are not heading straight out of town with vehicles that have been stolen, but are utilising certain vacant spots to hide them within AbaQulusi for a “cooling off period”, before making a run for it.
Lt Col Zwane and Patrol Commander for the Watch, Imtiaz Sahib agree that all crime must be reported in order to offer a true and accurate reflection of the local crime statistics and give backing to the fact that Vryheid SAPS urgently needs more manpower. If you are a victim of crime and you do not report the crime to the SAPS, it directly affects the local crime statistics. If unreported, it is basically as if it never happened.
Vryheid Neighbourhood Watch Chairman, Andrè Rheder points out that people often don’t want to report the crime due to a lack of effort on the part of the SAPS to take their statement or assist them. Lt Col Zwane explains that this is a cause of concern and he is working on it.
“If you experience reluctance from the SAPS when reporting a crime, note the date and time and report it to us,” instructs the Neighbourhood Watch Patrol Commander, Imtiaz Sahib. “It will be reported to Lt Col Zwane and dealt with…”
“If we work together,” advises Vryheid SAPS’ Lt Col Zwane, “we can do something about these problems…”
“There is recruitment going on in the SAPS,” he adds. “I encourage men and women of all races to apply.”