Gonubie gets tough on crime

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Residents, police target criminals in joint patrols

CRIME FIGHTERS: Gonubie Protect members and law enforcement officials took to the streets, bush and sky to try and root out crime in the area recently. One member of the group flew his drone equipped with a video camera to provide assistance to those on the ground Picture: ETHIENNE ARENDS

GONUBIE residents and law enforcement officials ventured out onto the street and into the bush for two consecutive weekends recently to try and weed out criminals in the area.

The “bush walks” saw members of neighbourhood watch group Gonubie Protect join Buffalo City Metro Law Enforcement and members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) for their patrol into the bush to look for hideouts and getaway routes that criminals might use after they have committed a crime.

They also had the use of a drone that was owned and manned by member André Oosthuizen helping the search with video footage from the air.

“We want to familiarise ourselves with the bushy areas around Gonubie, so that we know exactly where to go looking if a crime happens,” Gonubie Protect chairman Daniel Ellis said during the first walk during the weekend before last.

The bush raid follows the murder of Ellis’s friend, Marlene Cairns, 75, who was stabbed to death during a home invasion by two men in Gonubie on January 2. Her husband Neil, 77, was stabbed in the chest but survived.

About 30 men and one police dog combed the bushy area from the Gonubie Point area of the beach, between Black Rock and German Bay, with some success. Towards the end of the almost two-hour patrol the police dog, Amanda, came to a standstill next to a car that was parked in one of the open areas where fishermen park and patrons usually braai.

EYE IN THE SKY: One of the aerial shots taken from the drone belonging to Andre Oosthuizen, a Gonubie Pro- tect member who helped comb the area for criminals’ getaway routes and hideouts Picture: ANDRE OOSTHUIZEN

When police searched the car, they found marijuana and dagga “zols”.

“There are a few dagga cigarettes, loose dagga and one larger package of dagga here. There’s also a lot of loose cash; this looks like a dealer,” Warrant Officer Dirk Brenkman said at the scene.

“The stash has a street value of about R300 and the man was arrested on the spot for possession of marijuana.”

The patrol also found in the bushes a wallet belonging to an Australian man. All the cards were still in the wallet and all the money had been taken.

OUT IN FORCE: Members of the Gonubie Protect neighbourhood watch and the Buffalo City Metro Law Enforcement penetrate the bushy area from the beach’s side during their “bush walk” recently Picture: ETHIENNE ARENDS

When one wing of the patrol spoke to a man sitting on the rocks, he said that he had also weeks earlier found a wallet in the bushy area.

“The wallet had some blood on and no cash in it. I threw it back where I found it, because I did not want to get involved.

“ The police might think that I was involved,” said the vagrant.

Ellis and deputy chairman of Gonubie Protect, Louw Myburgh, said these finds on their first patrol would just make them more eager and see day and night patrols intensify in the area.

“We cannot have a community living in fear; one that is riddled with crime. We are fighting back,” Myburgh said.

The group currently consists of 180 members, with 45 people who patrol in shifts throughout the night in Gonubie.

For the last patrol, about 14 vehicles belonging to Gonubie residents joined security companies who had asked to join the weekly show of force patrols to Kings Mall, the Boardwalk, before driving along the beachfront through Mzamomhle.

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