Scottburgh’s heart reels from attacks

Scott Street, Scottburgh.

What could be termed the heart of Scottburgh’s CBD has been reeling from a spate of burglaries and robberies over much of its festive season. Roughly bordering from Scott Street in the East, Cordiner Street in the North, Williamson Street in the West and Arbuthnot Street in the South, it contains a number blocks of apartments which have been hit. Unsurprisingly, most of them are not keen to have their part in the incidents publicised.

The general ambience of the area has long been encouraged as one of tranquility and security for elderly citizens. While one block has developed into a maze of passages ultimately leading to Scott Street and almost impossible to secure, it is the exception rather than the rule. One block, perceived as one of the most secure, was the first to experience the new phenomenon. An elderly woman, an invalid living on her own was accosted and robbed by a perpetrator. Some home appliances were taken. A hole created under a fence was the possible entry point.

The major incidents happened after Christmas at one of the larger complexes which prides itself on its security.

Three or four incidents happened on the same night with a variety of goods stolen. A nurse at the frail care reportedly was relieved of a fair sum of money provided to her for her work. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in any of the incidents, all of which are being investigated by police.

Unfortunately, it seems that a gang is implicated which has at least as good ‘crime intelligence’ on the police as they have on the criminals. While local police regularly patrol the area, they are circumscribed as to practical access to much of it. Like most South African agencies, they are politically hindered by successive governments’ insistence on unified rather than federal controls.

This means that responses to incidents is controlled from a large control centre in another province, resulting in great loss of time and lack of local knowledge. When asked for a response, Captain Vincent Pandarum, SAPS Communication Officer said, “Recent crimes in Scottburgh Central and Freeland Park continue to be of concern to the Scottburgh SAPS and every effort is being made to stamp it out.

Our Crime Information Management Analysis Centre (CIMAC) has indicated that information provided by complainants in the case dockets and the modus operandi being used suggest that a group of at least three perpetrators are active in both areas since the beginning of the festive season.

The Scottburgh SAPS Crime Intelligence has been tasked to assist by delving deep to uncover the identities of the suspects involved and their whereabouts. One of the suspects is known to investigators and he has been on the run from police for the past few weeks.

It is only a matter of time before he finds himself behind bars. Meanwhile, the Scottburgh SAPS management has deployed members dressed in mufti and undercover cops in unmarked vehicles have been keeping the affected areas under surveillance. There have also been increased police visibility with additional deployments and support from the Umzinto K9 unit as well.

“We urge the public, especially those living in the areas most affected by crime, to be constantly vigilant and inform police of any suspicious-looking strangers or unknown vehicles in their neighbourhoods.

Always arm your burglar alarm systems when going out or before going to bed at night.

Do not leave doors unlocked or windows standing open as criminals take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to commit their crimes. Do not ignore your dogs barking as they may have detected the presence of an intruder on your premises. “The Scottburgh SAP

S has pulled out all stops to bring to an end all criminal activities in the affected areas so that the public is and feels safe once again.”

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