Wednesday, 11 May 2016

July 2016 Public Meeting

Next Westville Community Police Forum Public Meeting 

Date: 19th July 2016
Time: 18h15 for 18h30 start
Speaker:  This month's speaker will be Liesel Muhl – Presenting our new electronic media plan to communicate our vision

Regular visitors will have read that in the background we have been planning to upgrade the marketing and branding of the Westville CPF. Finally that is now starting to happen.


Place: Westville Country Club
Address: Link Road Westville  (Location shared with Varsity College)
Entry: Free


The Venue Restaurant on site hosts our meetings.
Please support them for meals and refreshments.

If you are a resident, own a business, work or are visiting Westville  you will benefit by attending as the relationship between Westville SAPS and the community is quite special.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Westville SAPS Crime report and Analysis – Jan to Oct 2015


New Germany Nature Reserve.
A major challenge is the New Germany Nature Reserve (1) where it can be clearly seen how once the M19 (2) is crossed, how many roads and homes (3) can be accessed once penetration of the reserve is achieved. The reserve has a small force of guards to cover a large area and a long fence line, bisected by the top of Methven road/ Mountain ridge road (3) to monitor and patrol.


Cleremont/Westville gorge.
The challenge faced to conventional policing can be clearly seen by the depth and span of the area of hills and valleys between Cleremont (1) and Westville (2) that suspects can disappear into (3), turning police action into a skirmish, guerrilla warfare type activity. I half seriously asked at the CPF meeting if anyone had a helicopter to lend us as it is extremely frustrating getting calls of “suspects in the bush” and having to begin a rural tracking style operation into gorges 100m deep. The task of tracing suspects who have been spotted is extremely difficult as the area is massive and the suspects have all the time in the world to scout and plan their infiltration.

 
Spaghetti Junction/Berea West – Sector 1b
A trend we noted over many years is criminals using this junction as an entrance and escape route into the Berea West area, as the sub-sector neatly straddles the freeway and is bordered on two sides by different policing areas, namely Sydenham (1) to the East and Cato Manor/Chesterville (2) to the South. Analysis of activity we noted that suspects were using the M13 from Sherwood and heavy bush of the Westville Triangle (3) as well as the network of canals under the freeways to enter and escape the area. Successful crime prevention and rapid follow up of crimes involved cutting off these routes and trapping suspects either in the canals (4) in the Chesterville cemetery (5) or still on the freeways themselves.
 
Crime Charts - What follows are the crime graphs for the most prevalent offences of Housebreaking, house robbery, and business break in and robbery. The graphs are an accurate portrayal of proportions to that month of the year. Actual figures are apportioned to each graph, however it is well known that we are forbidden to publish raw stats.
 
Westville North  Sector 2b
The age long challenge faced by North as a sub-sector is the close proximity of the M19 as an entrance and rapid escape route for vehicles but also the dense bush of the deep gorge that begins in Cleremont and becomes part of the Umgeni river valley. By looking at the trend of the year, the year started moderately well but after a short spike came down nicely towards the mid year. Then, as Berea West came sharply down in June, Westville North saw an upswing again. It is difficult to state categorically that the two are related as they are far apart geographically and the crooks we were hunting in Berea West were coming on foot from Cato Manor. Here in the North a similar challenge was faced. Regularly criminals either crossed the M19 and gave never ending headaches to the New Germany Nature Reserve by cutting fences almost nightly, but also gave headaches to the north community, especially those whose properties backed onto the reserve. After a nasty peak in September, and intensive operations in the area, we noted a slight reduction in crime in October. It must be recognised that some areas in Westville North have embraced the strategy of community volunteer patrols. Over time, it has been noted that those road networks that have dedicated patrols and who time them in cooperation with the SAPS crime threat analysis (CTA) have borne fruit in being almost crime free. Although not yet reflected, November has been problematic especially for homes backing on the gorge and a combination of Police and community efforts are hoping to bear fruit soon.
Central   Sector 2a
Historically, Central as a sub-sector has not had the highest crime in terms of housebreaking or house robbery. The bulk of the area is made up of the central business district, schools and the residential area along Jan Hofmeyer road (and adjacent roads) and the first section of Roger Sishi (Blair Atholl) road and adjacent roads. Also covered, is the residential area up Westville road until the Baden road turn off. The area started off the year typically quiet, however, the mid-year peak can definitely be partnered with the increases seen in Berea West. A couple of gated villages which have had problems in the past saw more activity this year and there were quite a few burglaries in businesses on Jan Hofmeyer road, opposite the Boys High School. The downturn and stabilisation of crime later in the year can be attributed to some good arrests made where suspects were linked positively to several offences. Although not reflected on these graphs, a continuous challenge is the never ending theft out of motor vehicles in shopping centres, outside pubs and schools and the Westville Country Club. I fail to understand how, despite the prevalence of the crimes, and clear warnings, people insist on leaving valuable items such as laptops and cell phones in their vehicles, in full view, while they go shopping or drink. I gladly risk sanction by directly accusing people of sheer negligence and I can tell you now, there are several cases of insurance fraud being investigated with some of the reported “incidents.” It begs examination that in the time of crime and the awareness of “code jammers” that people leave expensive laptops (let alone valuable and personal information) on their passenger seat and “lock” their cars and walk away without the one second check of their door handle that the car is indeed locked.

 
Dawncliffe   Sector 1b
Dawncliffe can truly attribute its low housebreaking to an immensely strong and well-coordinated neighbourhood watch system. It is the only sub-sector in Westville that can boast such low figures. Indeed, in April this year, not one housebreaking, house robbery or business break in or robbery was reported. This area continues to set a very high bar for other communities in the area. The Pavilion and Westville Correctional Services both fall under the Dawncliffe crime stats and both also suffer break ins. Shops at the shopping centres get broken into overnight and private homes in the prison complex, strangely enough, also suffer crime. Despite this the area maintains very low crime rates. The graphs can be better understood when I can tell you that August and September crime are in low single digits and the peaks in May and July are mid-teens. The challenges faced by Dawncliffe are the Syringa road/Maryvale road route being something of a main route through the area, however community activism and vigilance allows the early spotting of any vehicle or person who appears out of place and the healthy relationship and communications between the neighbourhood watches and SAPS maintain Dawncliffe as the poster boy for a safe and secure community throughout the year.
Berea West   Sector 1a
This area started the year with some good successes keeping crime under control. However, towards the end of the first quarter and into the half year, a spate of house robberies, two of which ended in two men being murdered, caused a very serious upturn, with a peak in March, a slump from May to June and then a sharp rise in July when the second murder took place. Also during this time, there was the challenge of pedestrians getting held up along the top of Koningkramer/Westwood intersection and it was only after some good arrests that these crimes were curbed.
Several houses along Constance Caswton and Somerset had been suffering housebreakings and it became evident that the suspects were using the parks as cover and concealment to enter properties from the “back” yard. It was also around the middle of the year that there was a sincere and successful drive to formalise neighbourhood watches. Several meetings between SAPS and the community took place but we hope that this grows into a more participative and interactive initiative into the new year.
It must be noted that a substantial amount of these break ins also occurred along the Essex terrace commercial strip, targeting computers and other electronic equipment. Unfortunately, the University falls under the Berea West area and break ins and thefts out of student residents all adversely affected the overall figures.
August saw the lowest crime of the year but then a steady increase through September and October. This month however has been quiet and we envisage the Festive Season operations to bear fruit to control things through the new year

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Status

Work in progress
This blog has some functionality that can be accessed via the menu. In the meantime there is updated info on the historic site http://www.westbeat.org.za including access to several appropriate and networked Facebook pages.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.