Maputsoe police are counting on local residents to help them ensure peace prevails in the industrial town over the festive season.
Of particular concern to the police and community is a ruthless gang called ‘the tycoons’ which terrorises the town, especially during the Christmas period.
But according to Leribe District Commander Senior Superintendent Phahla Letsosa, cooperation between the police and residents had raised hope of a peaceful festive season.
“Early this month, we celebrated the achievements of the Maputsoe Community Policing Forum which has closely worked with us in fighting crime in this area, over recent months,” Senior Superintendent Letsosa said.
“From March to October, we recorded 869 cases compared to 931 over the same period last year, here in Maputsoe.
“In Leribe district, we recorded 2163 crime reports for the same time last year and this year, it dropped to 1130. This is all thanks to the hard work and cooperation between the police and Community Policing Forum comprised of ordinary but very determined residents. We are hoping with similar cooperation, we will have a peaceful festive season here in Maputsoe.”
Senior Superintendent Letsosa also said relations between the police and residents had vastly improved due to their new understanding.
“Members of the public are now responding well to police appeals for leads in our investigations, thanks to the Community Policing Forum through which residents are educated on crime-prevention.
“For instance, in the past, residents would go as far as hiding suspects and stolen goods and would be very hostile towards our raids. However, they now understand that the police are there to protect them and also that for this to happen, they must help us.”
On the ‘tycoons’, Senior Superintendent Letsosa said although he was not in a position to disclose the finer details of their strategy to thwart the gang, all he could say was the police were ready to protect the town.
“We have already arrested two men suspected of robbing a Chinese shop-owner of M50 000. The suspects were arrested after a tip-off from members of the community.
“Two days later, another Chinese shop was robbed of M10 000. The owner was shot twice in the arm and we have since apprehended the suspects,” Senior Superintendent Letsosa said.
Maputsoe Community Policing Forum chairperson, Sempe Ramaema, told the Sunday Express it was the duty of every resident to “reclaim our town” from the ‘tycoons’.
“Unless ordinary citizens take a stand and make it their responsibility to closely work with the police to root-out the operations of the tycoons in this town, innocent people will continue to suffer,” Mr Ramaema said.
“The Maputsoe Community Policing Forum is working hard to further educate residents about their responsibility to fight crime.
“Our main target is to eventually have a crime-free town and this means rooting out the tycoon operations. We have since intensified our efforts towards this as we enter the festive season when these people are at their worst.”
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