The police department have responded to increasing crime in Braamfontein. 

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) announced last week that they will be increasing their presence in Braamfontein in response to the growing number of criminal incidents in the precinct.

The announcement came after the fatal shooting of a Doves employee two weeks ago in front of the Jorissen Place building across the road from the Wits University main campus. The JMPD say they have decided to add more officers on site in the predominantly student precinct.

One of the on-site metro police officers, Sydney Betha, told Wits Vuvuzela that the intention of the decision is to decrease crime in Braamfontein by intimidating possible criminals with the presence of officers.

“We have been deployed here because we want to reduce the criminality that are happening in Braam which are mainly caused by some students who are ill-disciplined,” he said.

Betha said that the unit had recently arrested a number of students dealing in marijuana. He believes that their (JMPD) visibility in the area is to ensure that students are safe and can succeed academically.

“We want Braam to be a learning environment which is conducive for all students. We don’t want people to be exposed to these illegal drugs,” the police officer added.

Wits Campus Protection Services (CPS) say they will be working with the JMPD to ensure that student safety is the number one priority.

The crime prevention and liaison manager at Wits, Lucky Khumela, told Wits Vuvuzela that CPS will be working with a number of government departments and private security companies to protect students.

“We look at that matter [crime] and try to have a multi-sectoral approach with the different stakeholders, namely the JMPD, the SAPS and BID security,” he said.

Khumela, who is the chairperson of the Braamfontein Crime Sector Forum, believes that it is through this “joint venture” that crime will be reduced in the city.

“From our own research, we know that visibility derails crime so most of the time where there is police visibility crime is very less because it increases the risk of being arrested [for criminals],” Khumela added.

A first year Wits BSc student, Nelisiwe Sibanyoni, believes that if the police do their job then criminals will avoid coming to the city.

“Usually police are people that are respected, people that are protecting us, so if they are around I feel more protected,” Sibanyoni said.

Sibanyoni, who stays at South Point Argon House, feels that she now feels safer walking home at late hours. “I know that I can ask them to walk to my building if I come home late at night,” she said.

It is currently not clear how long the JMPD’s increased presence in Braamfontein will continue for.

FEATURED PHOTO: JMPD have increased the number of officers in Braamfontein in an effort to deter criminals from operating in the area. Photo: Tshego Mokgabodi.