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Six arrested in Hanover Park anti-gang blitz

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Six arrested in Hanover Park anti-gang blitz

by Laverne de Vries
14 Nov 2006
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Despite police attempts to clamp down on gang - related violence in Hanover Park, one person was killed over the weekend and a 12-year-old shot in the leg, just hours apart from each other.

According to Philippi station commander Director David Flemmet, a 12-year-old girl was injured by an unknown suspect on Sunday, 12 November at about 17:40.

"Our reports suggest that the shooters were taking pot shots and the girl was injured in the crossfire. She was taken to Hanover Park Day Hospital and then to Red Cross Children's Hospital where she endured a successful operation and is in a stable condition."

Nearly three hours later, a 28-year-old man, believed to be a gangster, was shot in the head, execution style in Downburg Court. "He was shot at close range but we are hot on the trail of the suspect, who is believed to be a Ghetto gangster," Flemmet said on Monday.

The pursuit of the suspect can largely be attributed to community involvement. Says Flemmet, "Tip offs have given us a clear indication of who the perpetrator is and we are trying to apprehend him."

The weekend shootings comes after a week of relative calm and heavy police blitzes.

Five people were arrested in one week as part of law enforcement agencies' operational strategy to quell the gang-related violence in Hanover Park. The suspects, who were arrested following the murder of an Americans gangster, appeared in court on Tuesday, 7 November and are still in custody. Seven firearms were also seized during operations.

"We have increased police visibility in Hanover Park and more resources and personnel were deployed to stabilise the area after numerous reports of shooting incidents over the past few weeks," says the provincial SAPS spokesperson, Captain Randall Stoffels.

More vehicle and foot patrols were started and Metro Police are also involved in fighting crime in the area, says Stoffels.

Despite the polices' security clampdowns, residents are still fearful that the violence might last into the festive season. The sporadic shootings are followed by tense moments of an "uneasy calm," says Community Policing Forum spokesperson Mogammat Keraan.

"There are police patrols, mostly conducted by the sector policing, but we haven't seen a noticeably heavier police presence with other law enforcement agencies bolstering the SAPS," he says.

Responding to this, Flemmet says the recent successes can be attributed to a comprehensive approach by the Philippi Police, the Area Crime Combating Unit (ACCU), the dog and flying squad, as well as Metro Police, the CPF, neighbourhood watches and the community.

"The ACCU has also been pivotal and the reason people don't see the extra patrols is because they drive around in unmarked vans. Sometimes the members work undercover, because it's not as if a gangster will come up and say to a police officer, 'Here I am, arrest me'."

Director Flemmet reiterated that the police are working hard at restoring peace in the area.

"We would like to urge the community to continue calling us with information to ensure that the gangs and guns are off our streets. Although we are working for peace, we will not engage in peace talks with gangsters as that would seem as if we are working with them.

"If the community or the gang leaders themselves want to initiate talks, they can and we will safeguard the meeting with our presence."

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