Easing of lockdown restrictions leads to crime spike on Durban beachfront, Newsline

Durban – Residents and business owners on Durban’s beachfront have called for more visible policing as they say crime has escalated in the area since the easing of Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

This follows a stabbing on Snake Park Pier last week where two men died.

Durban ward councillor Sharmaine Shewshunker, who lives in North Beach and is responsible for the CBD, said crime had increased in the area after the easing of lockdown restrictions. Some of the crimes included theft of cars and property, muggings and stabbings, she said.

There was not enough visible policing in and around the CBD to deter criminals, she said.

North Beach salon owner Seema Mustafa said the recent stabbing happened near her business.

“My clients come in and tell me about the crime in the area as well. We need more police around. The police station is right here but people are getting killed,” she said.

Restaurant owner Jayaraj Naidoo said criminals had become more sophisticated and organised in the way they planned their crimes.

EThekwini Cluster Community Policing Forum(CPF) chairperson Imtiaz Syed said that during lockdown crime in the North Beach area had declined drastically.

However, he said that since lockdown level 2, there had been a drastic increase in cases of vehicle theft and robbery in the area, among other crimes.

Syed said he had contacted the chairperson of the North Beach CPF to engage with role-players in order to put preventive measures in place.

He said he had also met with the chairperson of Point, which covers the South Beach area, to discuss a car guard programme aligned with the SAPS, CPF and metro police.

He said the programme aimed to empower the homeless while simultaneously taking care of crime through prevention and vigilance. Car guards would be vetted.

“We would, of course, have to get buy-in from business to support the proposal as the management and supervision of the programme would require a private security approach,” added Syed.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a satellite police station had been erected in South Beach.

“The police are constantly patrolling the area, and those found committing criminal activities are arrested,” she said.

The Mercury