Residents of Pomoroy in Umsinga in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands believe that continuous police operations in their area will bring lasting peace.
Earlier this year, police operations led to the discovery of 66 illegal firearms.
Umsinga, one of the poorest and least developed areas in KwaZulu-Natal, had a history of faction fighting. But although faction fights decreased drastically in the past 13 years of democracy, residents said crimi- nal elements were now running rampant.
Residents emphasised that the SAPS operations had brought stability to the area and relief to them.
Between April and June this year, police conducted a clean-up operation in which 44 illegal firearms and four tons of dagga were seized.
Inspector Paul Magwaza said the campaign was so successful members of the community asked police to return.
"The same eight-member team went back to Pomoroy on July 1 and started working the next day.
"In the space of only two weeks, we recovered five rifles, 17 pistols and 365kg of dagga. Nineteen people were arrested," said Magwaza.
Resident Goba Mchunu said people using illegal firearms had been causing "a lot of problems" in Umsinga. He said "some people from Johannesburg" were responsible for the criminal activities.
"Most of these people have firearms.
"I very much hope and pray that, after this police operation, we will have peace of mind and will be able to sleep peacefully," he said.
Mchunu blamed the escalating crime for the underdevelopment in Umsinga.
"Who would want to invest their money in an area where one hears gun shots every night? asked Mchunu.