Kraaifontein police station has managed to cut down crime by 100 percent at a hot spot – thanks to the help of local businesses and security companies.
Instead of approaching Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula for extra funds to fight crime at the under-resourced cop shop, Kraaifontein cluster commander Gerda van Niekerk launched Joint Operation Kraaifontein.
And her brave move has paid off.
A month ago, armed robberies, vigilante attacks and hijackings were a common occurrence in the roads leading to the train station.
The route at Stasieweg, Bloekombos, Wallacedene, Scottsdene and Kleinbegin was hit by at least three crime-related incidents each day last month.
But since local businesses and security companies started patrolling the area with police, no incidents have been reported.
Van Niekerk told the Cape Argus: “We have, since a month ago, been the sector with the most robberies, street robberies which mostly take place in the communities with people walking to and from work. This is when we realised we needed to do something.
She approached nine security companies for help – Baron, Gabar, Capital, SJC, Landri, ADT, District Bassett, Chubb and Securitas Security – who were guarding businesses along the main roads leading to the train station, but were not co-ordinating efforts.
Following a meeting, a WhatsApp group was started and the Joint Operation Kraaifontein was born.
Agrimark and Shell garages, whose workers and clients were regular targets, supply free coffee to those who patrolled.
“The security companies never criticised us or refused to drive into an area that was considered dangerous. People going to work is what is the most important to protect because they are going to work to forge a better life,” says Van Niekerk.
Manager of Total Garage, Elias Hendricks, said commuters were really feeling the effects of a zero-crime zone.
“We know our business is safe. We are glad we are able to help,” said Hendricks.
Community Policing Forum chairman Sila Mawethu says residents have also been doing their bit.
“Communities are the eyes and ears in terms of what is happening. Some of the things are happening in areas where police can’t reach so we provide information,” he said.
Residents who want to join Joint Operation Kraaifontein can contact kraaifontein-SAPS@saps.org.za or call 021 980 5533.