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SAPS Anti-gang strategy in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas bearing fruits

Mar 30, 2019
SAPS Anti-gang strategy in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas bearing fruits

Armoured vehicles at Northern Areas crime hotspots deter gang activities and robberies

Port Elizabeth - Gaining support and trust from the communities in the gang stricken areas of Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas is key for police, as they seek to arrest suspects and remove illegal firearms and drugs from the areas.

"One of the strategies implemented by Eastern Cape SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga, is to step up deployments in the Northern Areas in our efforts to stabilise the ongoing gang violence that is plaguing the communities of Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp," said police spokesperson, Col Priscilla Naidu.

"Since December 2018, the National Intervention Unit (NIU) and Tactical Response Team (TRT) from the Provincial office were assigned to the hotspot areas of Gelvandale and Bethelsdorp."

She said that additional deployment from NIU and the Special Task Force (Pretoria) joined their counterparts in February 2019.

"These teams are concentrating on curbing the gang related incidents in the Northern areas.

"Since their deployments, these operational intervention teams succeeded in recovering firearms, rounds of ammunition, drugs (dagga,mandrax, tik, cocaine)," Col Naidu said.

"Several arrests were effected and high density patrols and visibility in these areas is making a significant impact. These arrests are over and above the arrests and confiscations effected by members of both stations."

Anti-Gang unit also winning hearts in gang areas through sports

She added that apart from vigorous policing in these areas, the team has also succeeded in interacting with the youth on a social platform.

"Members engage in friendly sporting activities such as soccer with the teenagers in nearby open fields in Bethelsdorp and Helenvale where police Caspers are strategically positioned to monitor the activities in Extensions 31, 32 and 33 (Bethelsdorp) and Helenvale on a 24 hour basis."

Col Naidu said that, prior to stationing these heavy armoured vehicles, these open fields were hotspots for gang activities and robberies.

"This exercise most certainly received the green light and overwhelming approval from the community. Engaging with communities at their level is a step closer to winning the war on gangsterism in these areas," she described.

"The SAPS has vowed to continue to intensify their policing in the Northern areas through disruptive actions and hard core policing until the area has stabilised and the communities are safe. It can be seen that communities are more receptive of the police in these areas.

"The flow of information from the communities to the operational men and women on the ground is overwhelming and such information is immediately followed up.

"Focusing on winning the trust, altering the mind set and bringing hope to the children, youth and young adults in these areas can only result in positive change."

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