Crime in winter

2016-08-03 06:00


CRIMINALS appear to be using winter to capitalise, with residents bearing the brunt as break-ins escalate in some PMB suburbs.

Both Pietermaritzburg’s police clusters have reported increases in housebreaking and robbery incidents in the past two weeks, and have warned residents to be extra vigilant as blue- light patrols flood the streets to prevent attacks.

Captain Gay Ebrahim, communications officer for the uMgungundlovu North cluster, said police have identified hot spots based on cases reported and are mobilising officers in these areas to curb the rate of home invasions.

Ebrahim identified the Orient Heights and Copesville areas as current hot spots for home invasions.

She said the incidents were isolated and seemed to be the work of opportunistic criminals rather than criminal syndicates.

Similarly, uMgungundlovu South spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the cluster management had noted a “slight” increase in armed robberies over the past week, while housebreakings persist.

Ngobese pinpointed Hayfields and Mkondeni as their current hot spots.

Ebrahim said a possible reason for the spike in home invasions and petty theft was the sun setting earlier, with many people walking home in the dark falling victim to robbers on the streets.

She said residents were also going to bed earlier and were asleep earlier, giving criminals the advantage.

However, the police have hit back, holding various crime awareness campaigns in Copesville and increasing police visibility in Orient Heights.

“We are also regularly visiting second-hand dealers like pawn shops and scrapyards in attempts to recover stolen items. We urge residents to be extra vigilant and security conscious,” Ebrahim said.

“Residents should also keep a record of serial numbers of all their items at home, which increases the likelihood of stolen items being returned to them once found.”

Ngobese said homeowners should be wary of strange vehicles or persons walking in their neighbourhood at night, and urged residents to report all incidents so police­ could allocate their resources effectively in the fight against crime.

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