Motorists and Bedfordview residents have been urged to stop giving money or food to beggars at traffic lights.
According to Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) Chief Superintendent (Chief Sup) Bob Motshabi, his department will not win the fight against beggars and hawkers as long as residents and motorists continue to support them.
“We always remove them, but after the officers leave, they go back. One beggar for instance, was given a R200 note by a female motorist around Bedfordview central. It is clear that this person will come back for more,” said Chief Supt Motshabi.
He was speaking at the Bedfordview Community Policing Forum (BCPF) monthly meeting chaired by chairperson Mr Gavin Henry who echoed the same sentiments.
“At times we receive reports from motorists reporting how violent the beggars are and complaints that law enforcement is not doing enough to rid the area of vagrants and beggars. They can only leave if they do not make any money and it is important for our people to understand that,” he said.
Members of the public are encouraged to contact their relevant sector police vehicles when they see beggars at various intersections.
Bedfordview SAPS station commander Colonel Sevha Shiburi told the NEWS that at times criminals masquerade as beggars to see what is inside motorists’ cars.
“They would then signal to their fellow criminals who would then smash and grab belongings. Our people need to be very careful and stop giving money to beggars,” he said.
Col Shiburi said the intersection at Boeing Road East and Van der Linde roads was one of the hotspots for smash-and-grabs in Bedfordview.