The majority of the escalating crimes such as housebreaking, theft and robberies in Pietermaritzburg’s Mountain Rise areas are believed to be linked to substance abuse.
These are the views shared by community members in the area, who believe that there is an urgent need to root out the scourge.
A resident, who asked not to be named, suspected that young people who are addicted to drugs are mostly behind the robberies and theft.
She told The Witness that whenever these criminals are looking for money to buy their drugs, they turn to stealing whatever they can find to sell.
“We have had our water meter box stolen twice now, and I believe it’s because they are looking for copper to sell to the scrap yards.
“Also, every day someone posts on our community WhatsApp group that they had their copper pipe stolen or there has been a break-in.
Another resident said the issue of drug abuse has been reported in many schools in the northern areas.
In a bid to address and curb various crimes from taking place in and around the policing area, Mountain Rise SAPS have been having crime prevention operations on weekends.
The operations start on Friday and continue until Sunday evening.
Mountain Rise police communication officer, Warrant Officer Panchael Julius Singh, said they are aware of the crimes and substance abuse in the area.
Singh said, together with the community police forum, they have been conducting ongoing drugs awareness campaigns to address the issue of substance abuse.
“The campaign is ongoing and we are targeting schools because we have issues in schools where learners are found to be using drugs and bringing them into schools. We have been doing our operations and they are yielding success.
Singh urged community members who might have relatives who are struggling with substance abuse to come forward so that they can try and assist them with rehabilitation.
He noted, however, that not all housebreaking and theft are related to substance abuse.
Singh said some of the crimes are committed by people looking to make quick cash.