RESIDENTS of one of the oldest residential areas in East London – the Quigney – are concerned that crime seems to be on the increase in the suburb.
In January, the SPAR Supermarket in the area was robbed at gun point by six gunmen with administration clerk, Tanja Cant, saying the robbers had entered the premises by force, forced themselves in while security guards were closing the doors. The men emptied the tills and escaped with about R10000.
She said muggings were also regularly reported.
“In November last year, I was mugged at gunpoint between the BP garage and ABSA. My case is still pending as is that of the SPAR. It is frustrating and frightening, because it seem like police are neglecting the cases.”
Assistant manager of Preston’s Liquor, Ernest Belange, had a different view and believed that crime was actually on the decline in Quigney.
“Except for last week when we had three shop-lifting incidents, things have been better.”
Residents interviewed on the streets also felt the area had become dangerously unsafe.
Aviwe Mcaphukisi said there have been numerous robberies in Moore Street.
“The crime rate is high. There are a lot of drugs in Quigney and many evil things that are happening in and around the area.”
Claudette Grobler, who sometimes has to work night shift, said it was scary to walk home at night.
“I work at the Windmill and it is scary doing the night shift as you might get robbed on your way back [home]. We need more police visibility and awareness as the rate of crime has gone from bad to worse,” she said.
Khangelwa Lano said: “In the olden days we used to go to the beach with friends and family and come back when the sun went down. Now things are different. You have to go home early or else you will get robbed on your way. There are many rapes and robberies.”
Lisette Thomas said she grew up there but things had changed in the Quigney over the years. “There are a lot of tsotsis on the streets and it is scary. We need the police to work with the community to find the source of the problem.”
Police spokesperson Captain Nkosikho Mzuku said planned and unannounced drug busts were conducted on suspected drug houses in the area to prevent crime.
“Patrols and stop-and-go searches for drugs are being conducted. We also rely on tip-offs and anonymous hints that help us with valuable information.”
Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) spokesperson Bathandwa Diamond said there were various ongoing security provisions in an effort to reduce crime in Quigney.
“The city has made provision for security by installing CCTV cameras that are monitored 24-hours by metro law enforcement officers. The community, together with the ward councillor and police, have also established a Quigney Factor Crime Forum to fight crime in the area.
“The CCTV cameras help to reduce crime as criminals are caught when committing crime and people generally feel safer when they know that they are being watched. Crime along the Esplanade was always high before the CCTV cameras were installed.”
Diamond said BCM had been working towards maintaining the area through programmes such as the Call to Action Campaign which focused on the beachfront and aimed to improve living conditions with regard to service delivery.
“There will be more infrastructure development as part of the city’s multimillion Sleeper Site development project which will see more road upgrades in Quigney such as the Fitzpatrick Road and Currie Street upgrades.”