A spate of burglaries and robberies in Crossroads’ Phase 1 has brought fear and anxiety to the community, with some residents threatening to take the law into their own hands.
On Thursday April 14, irate residents marched to Nyanga police station to hand over a list of their grievances and declared war against gun-toting and knife-wielding thugs who are tormenting residents of the area.
Brandishing placards reading “enough is enough” and “police visibility”, residents called on neighbours to join in the protest. Among the protesters were victims of crime.
Residents told Vukani that robbery, theft and house break-ins have increased.
They said it has become difficult to even answer mobile phones on the streets for fear that they would be stolen.
The residents claimed that Nyanga police station commander Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata had promised to deploy more police in the area but that did not happened.
They are now demanding police patrols 24 hours a day, immediate attention to all reported cases, immediate arrest of suspects who broke into people’s homes, feedback on the steps taken in all the cases that were reported and an urgent meeting with high ranking police personnel and superiors.
They said it was disappointing that police were nowhere to be seen even after they had been alerted to a robbery or a burglary. Some went on to accuse police of working with criminals.
Crime victim Nolufefe Somdaka said she once came home to find her home had been ransacked.
“The burglar bars were lying there, a door in pieces, there was no television set or computer. I was shocked. My sister was distraught. They took everything. Remember, we also sell sweets and cigarettes,” she said.
Ms Somdaka blamed the police for not coming to the scene. She said it was scary to live in Crossroads and that people had lost ubuntu.
“You are robbed in full view of the public. They will not help you, instead will ask after you have been robbed ‘are you okay? Didn’t they hurt you’. People have turned against each other. Imagine you are living with people whom you must trust, but your house is broken into in the daylight but no one saw anything. What do you call that?” she asked.
Ms Somdaka said she joined the march to make a statement that crime is not acceptable and called on others to also take a stand against crime.
Another victim of crime, Nandipha Fixani, said her house had been broken into many times. On one occassion, she said, she was at home, sleeping.
“I suspect they use something to make you sleep. One day I woke up without a bag that had been next to me with all my bank cards and my identity document. The door was wide open. When I asked my daughter, she had no clue. In fact she was still in bed,” she said.
Ms Fixani said following a spate of violent crimes in the area in recent weeks, she decided to join the ranks of those who were against crime.
“I had to be here today. Crime is rampant in Crossroads. I suspect police have something to do with this. There is no way that these children can do as they like. They know something we don’t. They are in cahoots with police,” she claimed.
The memorandum was accepted by Captain Angelo Lakay on behalf of the station commander Brigadier Ncata.
After the march some said they were disappointed that the station commander had not been there to listen to their grievances even after they had told him they were coming.
They said they have little hope that police will be deployed in their area. However, they warned that if police did not protect them, they would have to protect themselves.
“This is our area. We have to protect what is ours. The truth is, we will have to kill or be killed, period, said one protester.
Police spokeswoman CaptainNtomboxolo Sitshitshi said the area was a problem and that while there had been case of robbery and hijacking reported, they had been attended to.
She added that police were working on reducing crime.