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Pretoria - Pretoria West, Pretoria Central, Wierdabrug and Olievenhoutbosch have been identified as high-risk crime areas within the Pretoria central cluster.
This emerged on Thursday during a press briefing at which Pretoria Central Cluster Commander Major-General Tommy Mthombeni gave a breakdown of the crime statistics in his precinct where the above mentioned areas contributed to 83 murders and 1 835 cases of robbery with aggravating circumstances in the 2012/2013 financial year.
“It would look as if these policing areas are a big problem but continued efforts and operations are in place to curb this,” Mthombeni said.
The Pretoria central cluster is made up of Atteridgeville, Erasmia, Hercules, Laudium, Olivenhoutbosch, Pretoria Central, Pretoria West, Wierdabrug and Wonderboompoort.
Olievenhoutbosch was identified as one the most crime-ridden areas within the cluster with almost every single crime category reporting an increase. The station was opened in 2011, after initially being a sub-station of Wierdabrug.
According to Mthombeni, the general socio-economic status of the township can be seen as a contributing factor towards increased crime trends.
“Many of the people there are unemployed and turn to crime to make a living.”
Mthombeni said the increase in liquor outlets and the surge in drugs can also been seen as a contributing factor towards the crime increase.
“Another factor that should be taken into consideration is the large industrial area that falls in that policing area. With all the factories, there are business robberies that can also result in an attempted murder case opened as well,” he added.
Wierdabrug saw a general increase in property-related crimes including that of burglary at residential and business sites.
“Most of these cases of burglary are when the home owner is at work or away on holiday,” he said.
In the Pretoria West and Central precinct, drug problems were highlighted as well as robbery at residential premises.
The current drug surge in the CBD with specific attention to Brown street and Marabastad did not go unmentioned by the general.
“We are very aware of the problem with drugs in those areas. It is important to note that continued efforts are being made in this regard. There are daily operations in the area. A police caravan which is manned throughout the day has been placed in Brown street.”
Mthombeni said community policing forums were critical in the fight against crime. He called for the community to come forward with information related to crimes.
“The fight against crime is the primary function of the SAPS but we cannot do it alone.”