Is the homeless community involved in crime?
Living in squalor, Newcastle’s destitute community scrounge for food daily.
However, while relying on the mercy of others, the homeless population have recently come under scrutiny.
Are they resorting to crime? Are they breaking the law to survive?
A small group of destitute people were recently found living on Silwerboom Street, Arbor Park.
The men had created a cardboard shelter for themselves, hidden by shrubbery on a vacant plot of land.
While it is unclear how long the men had lived there, when discovered, they were apparently found with a handful of weapons.
“The weapons were mainly made out of sticks, and when the police were contacted to remove them, one of the men confessed to committing crime,” claimed a source who wished to remain anonymous.
Allegedly, the homeless man confessed that he and other vagrants targeted pedestrians in and around the taxi rank area.
Through pick-pocketing people, the men allegedly scraped enough money to feed themselves.
An estimated 60 people live under the bridge on Hardwick Street, while denying to be involved in crime, one of the destitute claimed the police have arrested some of their number.
Ensuring the situation does not escalate, Newcastle SAPS spokesperson, Captain Jabulani Ncube said the homeless community is visited on a regular basis by the Social Crime Prevention Unit and Communication members.
“The homeless community is usually linked to property crime for financial game,” he said.
This was because pieces of property could be resold.
To minimise the chance of being targeted by criminals, Captain Ncube has offered the following guideline to follow:
At home –
- Don’t allow strangers into your home or living space. This will ensure you don’t unintentionally invite an unscrupulous person into your private space.
- Also keep firearms, garden utensils and other potentially dangerous items locked up and out of sight.
- Keep valuables such as jewellery under lock and key when not in use.
- Get references and credentials for domestic workers, to minimise hiring someone who could be a potential threat.
Going out –
- Avoid walking alone at night or in potentially unsafe areas.
- When leaving your home, change your habits on a regular basis as criminals thrive on routine.
- Hold tightly onto your handbag in public places, always remaining vigilant of potential pickpockets.
- Don’t leave your cellphone or handbag on your motor vehicle’s seat, even when driving.
- Don’t flash cash around in public.
- Be careful when talking on your cellphone in public.
To report a crime, contact the SAPS on 10111.