File picture: SAPS Twitter
Durban - As KwaZulu-Natal police focus on repeat offenders during their festive season operations, appealing for public assistance in locating wanted suspects, three Durban Community Police Forums have also called for more public participation in their areas as the year wraps up.

After the arrest of two brothers for a string of murders and attempted murders at the KwaMashu Hostel, provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula said police were going to ensure that wanted suspects were not allowed to roam freely.

The siblings were arrested in Gauteng and are allegedly linked to a 2018 triple murder in Inanda.

“We’re appealing to citizens to report people they know who are wanted by the law so that they may be removed from society and kept behind bars where they belong,” said Jula.

Durban North and uMhlanga CPF chairperson Haden Searles said community participation in crime fighting was a challenge, made apparent at meetings where attendance was poor.

He said since trio crimes (house and business robberies and hijackings) were a big concern, more funding for crime-fighting technology was needed.

“The installation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera systems showed a good success rate when it came to finding cars. We need more of these,” he said.

Sydenham CPF spokesperson Satish Dhupelia said people only came to meetings when they became victims of crime or there were serious issues in the community.

“We’d love to see greater attendances as every person who attends becomes a more vigilant person who can assist others with advice and crime-prevention tactics. Knowledge of criminal activity and the methodology used helps prevent crimes,” Dhupelia said.

He said murder (due to the drug war) had increased in their area, as had rape and house break-ins and theft from, and of, motor vehicles.

Dhupelia said another serious challenge they faced was the destruction of communities through the use of drugs.

“We’ve seen youngsters from age 10 to senior folk over 60 become hooked on substances. They are then a part of the vicious cycle of resorting to whatever means to get their next fix, and many times that means stealing or selling items from the household. We would like to see more stringent sentencing for drug dealing and quicker hearings in court,” said Dhupelia.

He said the CPF also embraced the use of CCTV cameras, remote monitoring licence plate recognition cameras, working with the SAPS and local security companies using cellphone apps.

“Many crimes go unreported and this doesn’t help when a suspect is caught with property that’s suspected to be stolen but has not been reported, and so the suspect is let off. Social media is not a reporting platform - going to SAPS and getting a case number is the only way to report crime.”

Umesh Singh, CPF cluster chairperson of Phoenix, Verulam, oThongathi and Durban North, said a challenge in these areas was the transfer of police officers to specialised units, which saw fewer members stationed in these areas.

Daily News