NIEU-BETHESDA NEWS — Nieu-Bethesda has always been known as a village where crime is of little consequence.
Residents and tourists alike have relished in the fact that this community is one that can be trusted and invasion of personal space and property has been isolated.
During the past year, however, residents have become increasingly frustrated with an upsurge of crime that has left residents of Pienaarsig and Nieu-Bethesda angry, frustrated and disheartened.
Following a request from victims of crime (of which there have been many), a snap survey was conducted where people were asked to fill in a form indicating how they had been affected by crime in the past year.
This survey is by no means complete as not everyone was reached for comment, but the results below are shocking and speak for themselves:
- Locked bicycle wheels were stolen behind locked gate at private home
- Farm stall was broken into and products were stolen (this happened three times during the year)
- iPhone and wristwatch were stolen from guesthouse – tracker located iPhone
- Intruder chased away after attempting to break into private home
- Housebreaking - substantial amount of money stolen
- Laptop and food stolen from guesthouse
- Boxes stolen from stoep at private home
- Drunkard found sleeping on property of private home
- Cell phone stolen from car parked in street, food stolen from inside house
- Break-in and theft at restaurant
- Nine incidents of housebreaking and theft at three different guesthouses (between January and July)
- Break-in at Church Hall
- Housebreaking - R2 000 cash, tablet, toolkit, make-up stolen. Car door lock broken.
- R2 000 stolen from wallet after break-in at private home
- Break-in and theft @ Restaurant
- Theft from tent @ Backpackers – video footage identified criminal
- 25kg dog food stolen off stoep of a private home
- Attempted house breaking – shutter broken
- House breaking tablet, laptop stolen
- R6 000 stolen from wallet in guesthouse as guests slept – window prised open
- Cell phone stolen from house
- Abusive drunkard aggressive towards family members
- Break in and theft at guesthouse
- Break-in at private home - decoder, DVD player, wallet stolen
- Burned plastic under guesthouse window at guesthouse
- Guest threatened twice through door at guesthouse
- Guests threatened with ‘slashed tyres’ at restaurant
- Burning bin at guesthouse
- Putty removed from window frame at Backpackers
- Food stolen from private home after breaking in. Thief well known.
- Attempted break in at local pub
- Break-in at restaurant
- Housebreaking and theft of money and cellphone at guesthouse
- Thief broke window and stole kettle, bicycle tubes and crockery at guesthouse
- Theft at Backpackers
- Theft at guesthouse
- Person caught hiding in garden at guesthouse
- Attempted break in at guesthouse
- Attempted break in at a private home - thief ran off when shouted at - recognised
- Two elderly people robbed of R1 300 at night while in the room and awake at guesthouse
- Money and wallet stolen from guesthouse cottage while guest was next door
- Burglar entered guesthouse though sash window, stole money
- Youngsters fighting on street
- Two youths seen loitering outside guesthouse - ran away when police arrived
- A marked increase in criminal activity
As is evident, the past month has seen a marked increase in criminal activity.
According to those affected by crime recently, it appears that one of the suspects (who has been seen on occasion) is known to residents. Residents also state that forensic evidence is sometimes taken, sometimes not, and police response is often slow.
Due to the fact that the satellite police station in the village is only open from 10:00 - 22:00, there are times when the police do not respond immediately if off duty.
According to those affected by crime, there appears to be a lack of communication between the police, detectives, forensics and the courts which results in a breakdown of effectiveness when it comes to removing these criminals from the village.
A group of concerned citizens attended a meeting with Colonel van der Rheede where questions were asked regarding policing in the village.
A lack of confidence, trust and leadership in the police was expressed as a major problem. Colonel van der Rheede listened and responded positively and empathetically to villagers’ concerns and hopefully changes regarding policing will be effected soon.
Villagers and visitors to the village are now encouraged to be more vigilant in Nieu-Bethesda.
Ensure all doors and windows are locked, do not leave valuables unattended; when relaxing in one part of the house, ensure that everything is secure elsewhere in the house; dogs are good early warning systems and ensure curtains are closed at night to decrease visibility in the house.
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