Criminal activities are set to take a knock in Athlone as sector policing is launched, dividing the area into more manageable sections to combat crime.
The Athlone precinct is now divided into three sectors, each with a sector manager and an assistant overseeing demarcated areas with the aim of reducing crime.
Athlone SAPS media spokesperson, Captain Andre Venter, says the concept of sector policing is about service delivery and making areas more manageable.
"The community needs to put their trust in us and come forward with information about criminal activities in the area to bring the perpetrators to justice. Together we can claim back our communities, as many criminals think they are immune to the law," says Venter.
Sector One incorporates Athlone Industrial, Gatesville, Rylands, Hatten Estate, Belgravia, Gleemore, Sunnyside and Alicedale. Sector Two?s borders are the N2, Jan Smuts Drive and Klipfontein Road, and Bridgetown, Kewtown, Parktown, Silvertown and Vangate Mall are included in this sector. Sector Three covers Bokmakierrie, Hazendal, the Athlone CBD and residential area, and Rondebosch East.
Each sector mananger will prioritise problems in the area and implement a crime-fighting strategy focussing on those specific problems in the specific sectors. The sector policing will also see continuous patrols, raids and the establishment of crime sector forums, which aim to combat crime.
Sector managers will also be allocated bases in their sectors in a bid to make themselves more visible, involved and approachable to the community.
"Once they are in their premises, the community can easily go to the sector managers and report crimes as soon as they happen," says Venter.
Captain Junaid Alcock, manager of Sector Two, says the community sees the police as corrupt officials.
"The community needs to trust the police, and only then can change take place within the area. We want to build better relationships with the community to bring about this change for a safer community," says Alcock.
And the sector policing may be the answer to Alcock' dream of a safer community. Despite being just a week old, police report successes.
In Sector One a drug and illegal liquor outlet in Wood Street was raided, and police found four parcels of dagga, 83 dagga sticks and arrested one person.
Acting on information received from the community, a search warrant was issued to raid a home in Primrose Street, Kewtown. Police confiscated drugs, tik lollies, an air rifle, a revolver and five rounds of ammunition.
In another instance, four drug houses were raided in Beverly Street. No drugs were found but five illegal immigrants were arrested.
The house in Beverly Street where the illegal occupants were evicted last week will be renovated and used as offices for Sechaba Protection Services.
Sechaba's MD, Adiel de Bruyns, says the house will be used as a substation for SAPS, the Metro Police and Sechaba, to stop crime in the area and for security in the Athlone CBD.
In another raid at 18 Beverly street, on Friday, 8 December, police confiscated 19 packets of tik crystals and 245 dagga sticks and arrested two 18-year-olds for possession and dealing in drugs. Two siblings were also freed by the police after being held hostage at the house.
Residents within the various sectors are encouraged to contact their sector managers if they have any complaints or if any criminal activities are taking place in the area.
Numbers for the sector managers or their assistants are: . Sector One, Captain Gideon Rossouw or Inspector Ian Bennett on 082 1378 9018. Sector Two, Captain Junaid Alcock or Inspector Donald Manuel on 082 469 2893. Sector Three, Captain James Louw or Inspector Riaan Goliath on 082 443 7571.
If residents are unhappy with the services of their sector managers they can phone the sector policing commander Superintendent Norman at the Athlone SAPS on 697-9209 or 082 469 1877.