City braces for festive season crime spike

The City’s crime-busters have warned residents and business owners in the city to be on high alert in preparation for a spike in crime involving drugs, public drinking, shoplifting, house and car break-ins.

On Tuesday, the police, traffic department and Msunduzi Security and Waste Management officials together with many businesses and residents raised their concerns over crime during the festive season at a community business forum meeting.

One of the highlighted issues, that is not isolated to this time of year, was drugs, with business owners alleging that car guards who hang around their businesses, do not only loiter outside their premises, but also engage in selling narcotics.

“We have dedicated foot soldiers on the field who do routine checks and have already arrested 21 people over the last three months in related matters,” said Colonel Patrick Boucher, head of visible policing. 

Public intoxication was brought up by many business owners who said that people, especially those on leave from work or from out of town, consumed alcohol outside their premises while playing loud music throughout the night.

A representative for the McDonald’s restaurant, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that drunken people gathered in the parking lot at night, creating noise and disturbing the peace until the early hours of the morning.

“We have people who blast their music in the parking lots and refuse to leave, saying they want to eat their meals there,” said the representative.

Boucher allayed their concerns saying police vehicles were on patrol 24/7. 

patrolled responded to this saying, “We plan on keeping the city as safe as possible but we can only attend to matters like these if the residents who have these complaints report it to our police stations,” said Boucher. 

Another concern raised by residents and business owners alike was theft, such as shoplifting, remote jamming and car break-ins, during the festive season.

“Crime is always going to be present; that is the truth. We all need to work together so that we can reduce crime. Crime must be reported because, if it is not reported then, we as the police cannot, do anything about it,” urged Boucher.

He also added that residents must play their part by practicing constant vigilance, especially with their vehicles. He asked that citizens not leave valuables on display in their cars and that vehicle owners ensure  their vehicles were locked at all times. 

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said operational plans have been put in place for the upcoming festive season due to the increase in crime in December.

“We request that few or no staff members at all go on leave so as to be fully equipped and maximise our efforts for the spike in crime during this time of year,” said Ngobese. 

Ngobese said that many roadblocks would be set up to ensure that roads were safe and free from fatalities.

“We do not want any unnecessary fatalities on our roads this festive season and therefore will be doing our utmost to ensure that those who break the law will be caught and held responsible for their actions,” stated Ngobese.

Byrone Athman

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