Crime web spreads

2015-08-13 06:00

Police apprehended a suspect and questioned him a  regarding gadgets that were found in his possession in Acacia Street in Acacia Park which has become a haven for criminals. 
Mandla Mahashe

Police apprehended a suspect and questioned him a regarding gadgets that were found in his possession in Acacia Street in Acacia Park which has become a haven for criminals. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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Following a string of brazen robberies in the area, residents of Acacia Park in Philippi, say they are now living in fear.

Only this past weekend, three houses were burgled in one street. Two families were held at gun-point by a group of thugs who then made-off with home appliances, money and cellphones.

According to one worried resident, at another house a criminal ripped off burglar gates while the family was sleeping inside.

Lindiwe Xelo said: “We are living in constant fear as robberies are getting worse every day. At one house seven criminals comprising of five men and two women broke in and robbed the family out of their valuables. Three robberies took place in the same street in three consecutive days,” she said.

She said that the residents in Sports Road were now living in fear as they did not know who was on the next-to-do-list of the criminals.

“The criminals in this neighbourhood are well-known and they walk around like kings because no one will touch them.

We get worried at night and have to resort to drastic safety measures like switching off our phones and locking them away during the night,” Xelo added.

She said that the spike in robberies began in July and even after countless meetings between the community and the police, nothing has changed.

“The criminals enter homes in broad day light.”

She said what started in Surge Street has now spread on to other streets and the scourge is making their lives a living hell.

“We have tried to complain to the police and there was still no visibility,” she said.

Xelo said that their biggest concern was that during the night, when these robberies take place, there is often allegedly no sight of the police and they take a long time to respond to calls.

“In one of the homes the robbery took place at 02:00 but the police only showed up at 03:00. There have been complaints of alleged drug dens in the area and we haven’t seen any action regarding those.

I believe that had the police acted swiftly when the first string of robberies occurred a month ago, we wouldn’t be dealing with this problem,” she said.

As the City Vision team was leaving the area after the interview, they spotted police doing their rounds in the street, spot searching a man, which revealed a digital camera and a cellphone.

They had apparently chased him from a local car wash.

The police then took him to a house that was a suspected drug den, according to onlookers.

A resident at the scene aid that they were happy that the police were confronting the thugs.

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