GAUTENG police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela addresses Brooklyn residents during a meeting to discuss crime issues in the precinct. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela has urged SAPS members not to relax, but respond promptly to calls for help from the public.

He was addressing Brooklyn residents during a public meeting on Saturday at the Doxa Deo Church, convened to discuss crime in the area.

Representatives from Home Affairs and Correctional Services, as well as members of the Brooklyn Community Police Forum and security forums were present.

At the meeting, residents complained about noise pollution emanating from nightclubs as well as theft, hijackings, burglaries and commercial crimes, among others.

Mawela said he noted with concern their issues, but called on them to work as a collective with the police in order to combat crime.

He told residents he asked for the meeting so he could closely engage with them. In addition, he said the Brooklyn police station was among the biggest in Gauteng at which crime was reported. “I felt it was important for me to come and touch base with the community.

“Gauteng is one of the most contributing factors on the scoreboard. So we identified 40 police stations that are the main contributors in factors of crime, and Brooklyn is one of them.

“You know, this police station that is responsible for policing you is occasionally occupying position number nine in the province and nationally it’s at position 20.

“We’ve looked at different categories and the volumes; so if we can fix that and you find yourself out of this category, then ultimately you are going to change the scoreboard of Gauteng and that of the national picture,” he said.

Mawela said he noted the issue of noise pollution and called on police officers to act, adding that nothing was stopping them from walking into clubs after 2am and shutting them down if they were not compliant with the closing time.

“We want to see change. If you hear that there is a house robbery, you must put yourself in the shoes of the victim and respond promptly. Criminals in South Africa don’t care about you; they go around showing people middle fingers, and until such time that we stop them there, they will gingerly and gradually come to our own space. So let’s stop them while we can.”

He reminded residents to always ensure that their personal items were secured. “Communities should be vigilant and need to be aware of their surroundings when driving or walking. Please report offences as soon as possible with no delays,” he said.

Resident Cecil Spencer said they were constantly living in fear due to the level of crime in the area.

“One of the biggest concerns is the level of crime in this area. I’ve been a resident of Brooklyn for the past 18 years and I’ve had more than 10 incidents ranging from hijacking, car theft, burglary; there are just so many,” he said.

The 63-year-old said they had often had to beef up security owing to a growing number of crimes in the area.