Newcastle’s open drug use, petty crime and homeless dilemma

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Once, only performed behind closed doors, drug use in Newcastle, Northern KwaZulu-Natal and its surrounding areas, has spilled onto the street with people injecting themselves in public areas. Increases in local vagrants, persistently begging at busy intersections, and adding to the booming crime rate to support their habits, have led to a rather concerning environment.

Images credit: Newcastle CPF

Additionally, during the course of March 2022, the Newcastillian – Online News reported on how a Newcastle survey highlighted the seriousness of drug use throughout the area. The survey noted that children as young as 13 years of age were using hard drugs. Plus the survey illustrated how readily available substances such as crystal meth and cocaine were in Newcastle.

To read the full article, click here.

However, due to these problems, the locally based Community Policing Forum (CPF) is fast gaining popularity, assisting the South African Police Service (SAPS) in dealing with the above, among other growing challenges. 

Taking an active stance and chatting about Newcastle’s underbelly, CPF’s Ismaeel Dhalech gives us the scoop.

Firstly, speaking on the vagrants, he says, they beg during the day, before making their way to their respective hideaways in the evening. But after nightfall, certain homeless people come out of their sleeping places and start lurking around the residential areas. “Drug users and vagrants contribute to crime a lot. Vagrants often steal lights and gate motors for their next fix, while both the drug users and vagrants commit petty crimes to support their habits.”

Furthermore, Dhalech highlighted that crime was also escalating exponentially due to law-abiding residents opting to not open a case after being targeted by criminals. “We need people to come forward and report a crime, and open a case. The police, nor the CPF, can do anything if a suspect is caught and a person hasn’t opened a case.”

This is largely due to the fact that with little or no evidence against a perpetrator, law enforcement often cannot take a case as far as they would like.

Considering the above-mentioned, Dhalech stated that if people wanted to see a change, they could join the CPF. “The CPF is a partnership with the police, with the forum falling under the SAPS mandate. We have also personally worked with security companies, the SAPS, and Protections Services for years and the CPF has a good relationship with them all. We are always there for each other.”

With more Newcastillians joining the CPF, a constant river of information can flow to law enforcement, thereby increasing success rates.

To make a positive contribution to the fight against crime in Newcastle, residents are encouraged to leave the benches and take a proactive stance by joining the CPF.

While a voluntary initiative, interested parties have to undergo background checks and register to be an official CPF member.

For further information on how to join the CPF and make a difference, contact the following individuals:

  • Ismaeel Dhalech – 072 136 7677
  • Imran Ghafoor – 072 632 3000
  • Asif – 065 879 2316
  • Jan van Rensburg – 076 279 3422

Will you be joining the Newcastle Community Policing Forum to make Newcastle a safer place?

Share your views in the comment section below.

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