An encouraging recovery

As Muldersdrift, one of South Africa’s prime tourism and wedding destinations, gears up for the festive season, it is encouraging to see that following the release of the SAPS national stats for the period April 2012 – March 2013,   there has been a significant drop in crime in the area for the period from  April to October this year.

CPF Chairman, Jorncy Page, confirmed that the area had been relatively calm with only a few isolated incidents. Crime stats have in fact dropped by over one third when compared to the comparable period in 2012.

“We have seen an encouraging drop in house robberies of 45% and of house break-ins of 24%.  While there are still pockets of serious crime the motive has changed from last year and is now largely focused on the shebeens and alcohol related disputes. In the residential areas, the incidents have been largely confined to petty crime like fence cutting etc.

“We have tightened up our sector protocols and communication and, together with the SAPS, worked hard to create a much stronger “informer” network and relationship with the informal settlements so they have direct contact with their sector policing officers,” he says.

Increased police activity and presence in the area and the successful apprehension  and arrest and sentencing of the trio responsible for a number of offences, including the murder of 13 year old Alyssa Botha which sent shockwaves through the community,  have been key factors influencing the positive turnaround. The four pleaded guilty last month to nine out of the 10 charges against them. This is particularly positive for a community which has such a strong tourism and leisure focus and which is attracting such large commercial development at the moment.

The area has also been proactive in introducing a number of other positive community initiatives which have all made Muldersdrift a much safer community.

A proactive Muldersdrift Community Action Group was formed in April to address some serious security concerns, with representation from the SAPS, CPF, business and community. “While we acknowledge it is still too early to assess results there have been some incredibly positive initiatives which have been put in place over the last seven months and we believe the community is starting to feel the benefits from these,” says MCAG Community Spokesperson Craig Rowe.  Rowe says information sign boards, staff profiling, venue mapping, a crisis strategy and rejuvenation marketing plan, driven by the action group are currently in place. There have also  been exciting monthly development activities initiated and supported by various groups in the community.

Anthony Paton, Managing Director of SMS Security, one of the private security companies operating in the area confirms that they have also seen a general decline in incidents over the last six months and have had no serious crime incidents within their direct footprint.

He says that even on smaller incidents like the recent bike jacking, the four suspects who assaulted and robbed a group of cyclists riding through the Nooitgedacht area have been successfully apprehended and charged following a successful joint operation between Muldersdrift  SAPS, the community and  SMS Security on 7 September 2013.

“We are however cognisant of the fact that crime nationally escalates the closer we get to Christmas and believe it is important for everyone to stay alert and for the community to work closely together over the next three months.

Typically ATM Fraud, Cash in transit and house break-ins escalate around the country the closer we get to Christmas,” says Paton.

Page concludes by saying that the co-operation between the community, the SAPS and the CPF is definitely paying dividends and this past month the CPF sectors have also received great support from local councillors.  The donations received have been used for plug in floodlights on the police vans and hand held torches to aid with investigations.