Krejcir: Organised crime rumours abound in Bedfordview

The red VW Polo from where a device fired at Mr Radovan Krejcir's vehicle during an attempt on his life on July 24.
The red VW Polo from where a device fired at Mr Radovan Krejcir's vehicle during an attempt on his life on July 24.

The attempted assassination of Czech businessman, Mr Randovon Krejcir on July 24 and the murder of Bassam Boutrous Issa on October 12, have brought to light the shocking world that is organised crime and the criminal underworld.

Some public figures, including Talk Radio 702’s John Robbie and media forums, have expressed their views on these cases labelling Bedfordview a haven for organised crime.

Safety and Security South Africa specialist investigator, Mr Mike Bolhuis who is currently investigating the murder of Sam Issa said, “It seems like Bedfordview has become a place for organised crime, a sort of hotspot, but it is just that area. It is because of certain individuals staying in a specific area who are well known to the public, who are involved in organised crime. They are operating from that area – it is drawing so much attention to Bedfordview.”

Mr Bolhuis believes the Bedfordview area has become a target because organised criminals prefer areas where money freely flows and areas that are easy to enter and access. He believes criminals will stay in areas where it is easy to operate from and that are close to major people, companies and organisations.

Mr Yusuf Abramjee from Crime Line and vice president of Crime Stoppers International (CSI), concurred with the notion that Bedfordview is at risk of being a haven for organised crime.

“Obviously the recent developments of organised crime in Bedfordview are a cause for concern. The fact that the area has almost become the centre for a number of criminal activities, especially for the underworld, isn’t just a concern for the authorities but the residents as well. Bedfordview is known to be an upmarket area with a very effective community police forum, which is why incidences like these are a cause for worry,” said Mr Abramjee.

Mr Abramjee pleaded with the residents of Bedfordview to speak up.

“The fact that people keep quiet and are scared fuels underworld crime. We should remind people that services like Crime Line and Crime Stoppers are anonymous so there is no need for people to be afraid. Better communication with these sorts of organisations can help residents and authorities in combating organised crime,” he said.

Ward 20 councillor, Clr Michele Clarke, was quick to dismiss the idea that Bedfordview has become a haven for organised crime, expressing her disappointment in these claims.

“I must say I was not happy with John Robbie’s comment on 702, saying that Befordview has become a hub of organised crime. I think one should look into the statistics in the area and compare the statistics to other areas. You will find Bedfordview’s crime rate is most certainly not out of control. The residents of Bedfordview are hardworking, decent citizens that are community-spirited and have always made an effort to make the area better. So I think it is very unfair to put Bedfordview, as a whole, under organised crime,” said Clr Clarke.

The chairperson for Bedfordview Community Police Forum, Mrs Marina Constas, shared Clr Clarke’s sentiments.

Clr Clarke didn’t completely dismiss the issue of organised crime, but said it was shameful that an entire community had to be labelled by a few criminals.

“Certainly there is a small element of people who have moved into Bedfordview who are involved in organised crime. This element is bringing down the good work that goes into the area down unfairly and unnecessarily, and I think it’s an absolute shame,” she said.

Mr Bolhuis added, “I still believe South Africans would prefer to stay in a suburb or city where there is no crime, where you can be free, where people don’t have to stay in houses that are completely enveloped in iron bars, security guards, vicious dogs and hi-tech security systems. In order for the public to be safer, they should come forward with as much information as possible to make a difference.”

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