2007-11-19: Charter urges communities to fight crime

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2007-11-19: Charter urges communities to fight crime

Postby Rudi » Mon, 2007-11-19 19:51

Charter urges communities to fight crime


Aziz Hartley
November 19 2007 at 01:00PM

The community safety department has launched a charter calling on Western Cape communities to support police and ensure crime gets tackled more effectively.

The Safer Community Charter unveiled on Sunday urges residents to pledge that they would not create a market for stolen goods, do more to protect children, support efforts against organised crime and become more active in preventing crime. Crimes, no matter how small and suspicious activity, should be reported while youth should be encouraged to stay away from drugs and gangsterism.

"This charter has been developed in consultation with communities throughout the province. Whenever crime is committed, people must speak out because police alone can't prevent and fight crime," Provincial Community Policing Forum Board chairperson Rhoda Bazier said at Sunday's launch function in Samora Machel near Philippi.

Bazier said it was common knowledge that in most crimes perpetrators were known to their victims.

'People are being asked to break the silence'
"It's time people speak out so we can overcome this problem," she said.

About criticism that police failed to respond to complaints or sometimes did so long after a crime was reported, Bazier said police were obliged to act on complaints lodged.

"Police officers have taken an oath to serve and protect. If you know of an officer who failed to act, note the officer's name, report them at our office or the provincial commissioner, and we'll ensure the matter is dealt with," she said.

Community Safety MEC Leonard Ramatlakane said volunteers would distribute about 500 000 pamphlets to households giving details of the charter. He advised residents to organise themselves into street committees which would become the eyes and ears of police.

"They will know when something strange is going on. People are being asked to break the silence. The charter tells residents who to phone when something happens," Ramatlakane said.

He said police did their best under difficult circumstances and depended on the community's support.

"Many people say police do not do a good job. To those people we say, it is good to criticise, but stop throwing stones because a space has been created for you to join the fight against crime," Ramatlakane said.

Mitchells Plain Community Policing Forum chairperson Abe Isaacs said criminals would have nowhere to hide if residents and police worked together.

"This is all about watching out for each other and creating a safer environment. Residents must familiarise themselves with the police sector commander for their area, get to know their CPF representatives and ask for a reference number when reporting crime on police's 10111 number. These steps make it easier for people to find out what happened to their complaints," Isaacs said.


o This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Times on November 19, 2007
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