Crime falls as cops closes illegal shebeens

Published Jan 5, 2010



Cape Town police say a massive four-day operation designed to shut hundreds of illegal shebeens led to a significant drop in serious and violent crimes in some of the city's most dangerous areas.

In Nyanga, where 208 murder were recorded between April 2008 and March last year, police targeted shebeens and conducted scores of stop-and-search exercises in the streets.

More than 400 shebeens were closed across seven policing districts in festive season operations, Nyanga police spokeswoman Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitsi said, adding that 208 police officers from the Nyanga cluster - including Nyanga, Gugulethu, Philippi, Philippi East, Lansdowne, Athlone and Manenberg - were involved in the operations that netted the following results:

- 445 shebeens were closed,

- 3 209 people and 1 959 vehicles searched,

- 206 fines, with a value of R102 500 were issued and

- Several people were arrested during roadblocks for various crimes.

The operations, which began on December 30 and ran until January 2, also saw the establishment of 30 visible check points and roadblocks. These led to the confiscation of a vehicle that was reportedly stolen in Mitchells Plain last month, while an illegal firearm, dagga and mandrax was seized in Philippi.

Sitshitsi said that crime in Nyanga was also seriously reduced by the SAPS' actions.

In Nyanga alone over a five-day period from December 30 to January 3 488 vehicles and 673 people were searched while more than 100 of the area's estimated 460 illegal shebeens were closed.

Other figures include:

- 582 people searched in shebeens,

- 512 stop-and-search exercises were conducted and

- 64 people were arrested for various crimes

In one incident three Somalis were arrested in Emms Drive, Nyanga, for the possession of an unlicensed firearm, ammunition, as well as 13 cartons of illegal cigarettes.

Although she could not confirm that the shebeens, one of the biggest crime generators in Nyanga, would be closed permanently, Sitshitsi said shebeen operators had also been arrested.

Despite not being able to give figures on those arrests - the arrests helped reduce crime in the area.

"We have had a relatively quiet festive season in comparison to last year and we had a reduction in the number of serious and violent crimes, such as rape which normally happens around the shebeens."

The new Liquor Act, which is expected to give police more teeth to permanently close down shebeens, is expected to come into effect later this year.

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