Crackdown on gangs in Westbury is showing results

Crackdown on gangs in Westbury is showing results

Residents in Westbury block roads into the area and running battles with police throwing stones and petrol bombs following the killing of a woman last week in an alleged gang related incident, 1 October 2018. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Gang violence has lessened since the arrival of Sophiatown police station’s new commander, Brigadier Alfred Ndebele, and relative peace prevails.

Sophiatown police station’s new commander, Brigadier Alfred Ndebele, and his team are determined to stop the gang violence that has erupted at schools in Westbury, west of Johannesburg.

But an acute shortage of resources is hampering their efforts.

They have only three vehicles and 240 officers instead of the 275 required to improve police visibility, which is key to reducing crime, on the streets of Westbury.

Since gang-related violence erupted in Westbury last year and the community took to the streets to protest the inability of the police to control this and other serious crimes, there have been some significant changes in the area.

The community outcry prompted Minister of Police Bheki Cele to deploy the tactical response team and the anti-gang unit to the area. This has resulted in several gangsters being arrested.

When Ndebele was appointed, he was tasked with resolving the crisis and it seems he has done a great job as gang violence has lessened since his arrival and relative peace prevails.

“Since I was deployed here, we have recovered many firearms and knives during stop and search operations on the streets.

“The community members are saying there is a difference and we can also see the crime level is going down.

“The support we are receiving from the community is incredible.

“When they come to make reports to us we arrest immediately,” Ndebele said.

Sixty Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department officers have also been deployed in Westbury to track down the drug dealers who are operating in the area.

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