The spike in crime has forced communities to start applying for gated communities as a deterrent.
Lynnwood is the latest area to get approval for a gated community following a two-year process.
Councillor for the area, Siobhan Muller, said that while the community started patrols more than two years ago in a bid to steer crime away, armed robberies were still taking place.
She said it got to a point where the community had banded together and said they would make sure their area was safe.
“These closures are happening because the SAPS is not able to protect us adequately. The motivation for a gated community is that crime is out of control and the police do not have the capacity to cope.”
She said it was also important that residents did what they could to create a safe environment and be involved in crime prevention.
“For example, with an active community policing forum, patrols, cameras, etc.”
She said this would clearly be the way forward in the city, and that is why the amount to apply was dropped from an exorbitant R150000 to R11000.
“Before it could cost residents up to R500000, but now an application costs R11000; so even poorer areas have access to the process. There are other benefits than safety such as insurance coming down and property values going up in the gated community.
“The DA administration was involved in the revision of the policy for gated communities in Pretoria because the previous policy was not comprehensive enough, and was expensive,” Muller said.
The closure must meet certain criteria, such as allowing access to emergency vehicles and not hampering the road network. “For example, you cannot close roads like Lynnwood or Atterbury, only those on the periphery.”
Muller said in other areas where there had been closures there had been a huge difference, especially with regards to serious crimes. “So, while there may be some petty crime, it definitely reduces crimes such as housebreaking and armed robbery.”
Applications were also streaming in for areas such as Mamelodi and Eersterust, she said.
While the process took about two years, Muller said this could not be blamed on the City of Tshwane.
“It needs community involvement, mobilizing people to buy into the idea and get more than two-thirds support. Then you need to submit the application and let all relevant departments comment, including traffic, fire, community safety.
“Then it goes to the spatial land development tribunal, which will take a principled decision on the application.”
The application then goes back to the residents for public participation, and if there are objections, it cannot be approved.
Andrew van den Berg from the Lynnwood Community Association told the Pretoria News that despite having about 262 patrollers working on weekdays and weekends, there were still armed robberies every week.
“In the last robbery shots were fired for the first time in many years. Criminals are targeting places and the lengths they go to are scary. The question is, who is next, and we have to make sure we safeguard our community. This will improve safety drastically.”
He said there would be always a crime, but armed robberies would definitely drop.
“I strongly believe that gated communities are the way to go. I have also been a victim; my house was robbed and I felt that it was time to act before something bad happened.
“I think closures are the way to go, done in a legal and professional way. We are glad of this end result,” said Van den Berg.