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Cape Town - Residents of Goodwood and surrounding areas are concerned about a rash of home and vehicle break-ins by criminals posing as vagrants.
Residents voiced their concerns to Community Safety MEC Dan Plato last week during an annual policing needs and priorities meeting at the Goodwood Civic Centre.
Stories of break-ins, theft, vagrancy and a spike in foreigners moving into the area were some of the issues highlighted.
Goodwood community policing forum (CPF) chairman Brian Lawson said the biggest problem was the rise in homeless people in the area.
Lawson said that while the forum was unable to prove it, it appeared as if criminals were posing as homeless people to watch the patterns of homeowners in a bid to break into homes.
“It’s a new type of homeless person, they are far more aggressive and they are basically doing intelligence work before hitting a place,” he said.
Lawson said the CPF told Plato the area was in dire need of a new police station as the current facility was old and dilapidated.
Christo Theron, of the Goodwood Ratepayers Associations, said he himself was a victim of a break-in.
“Vagrancy is a massive problem. So-called homeless people are scoping out homes and breaking in. Several people have already been caught in the area,” he said.
Plato assured residents their concerns would be taken to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa – as the findings of the provincial needs and priority meeting would be presented to Mthethwa and provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer, to be included in the operational plan of SAPS for the following financial year.
Discussing the current state of affairs with the police, Plato said he was concerned about “political interference” in the operations of the police.
“Every time we try to improve policing in the province, there’s political interference in what we try to do.”
He asked parties to put politics aside and focus on the real issues plaguing the province.
Platorejected claims that the public spat between his department and police was bordering on political meddling, saying the province merely had an important oversight role to play.
“The Western Cape government has no control over the police, we only have an oversight and monitoring function… It is the political interference that I am worried about.”
Plato said policing had dominated headlines in recent weeks, from the information on poor police to population ratios, the lack of arrests being made at critical situations and the refusal to provide this province with a specialised drug and gang unit, especially since more than half of all drug crime happened in this province.