Muggers target walkers on road

2017-07-18 06:02
Rochester Road is no longer safe, residents say.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Rochester Road is no longer safe, residents say.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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Theft and robberies are becoming a worry for residents of Rochester Road between Salt River and Observatory.

Residents say for the past few weeks there have been a number of robberies and cases of theft in the street and crime is slowly spreading.

A 21-year-old man was arrested for theft and possession of stolen property in Salt River last Sunday.

He was found with a stolen scaffold belonging to Indawo construction, whose workers are currently fixing a historic substation in Observatory.

Police arrested him after receiving a tip-off from community members.

The man briefly appeared in Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and the case was postponed for his bail hearing.

Employees of the site say it is worrying that the building is still a target and that robberies are becoming more frequent.

They say about a week ago a man was attacked and robbed while walking up the street. They could not confirm whether he reported it to the police.

A businessman in the street, Johannes Cichorius, says: “We no longer feel safe here. They are waiting for an opportunity and they steal whatever they can. Another tenant’s car was broken into three weeks back and her iPhone was taken. She was left with too much to pay for her damaged car – only for a phone.

“Since then we had to tighten up our security system. I just wish for more police visibility, not just at night but during the day as well.”

Police spokesperson Sergeant Hilton Malila says: “Woodstock police members were patrolling when they received a complaint of a housebreaking in progress in Rochester Road. The officers reacted swiftly and apprehended the man and he was subsequently arrested for theft and possession of stolen property.”

Malila says Woodstock police are concerned about the number of robberies which have been reported. Despite frequent police operations and initiatives that have been implemented, the figures are still high.

He says the crime statistics have revealed that robberies mostly take place early in the morning or late in the evening.

He says muggers usually target people between the ages of 18 and 35 who are walking alone to and from work.

“We want to make an appeal to the Woodstock community to lower their risk of becoming a victim of crime and in return we will focus our efforts on the specific areas and times when these robberies are most likely to occur by deploying our visible patrols,” says Malila.

Police give these safety tips to avoid ­muggings:

. Avoid walking alone and don’t talk to strangers. Be on the lookout for strange cars or people.

. Walk in well-lit busy streets and in a group, if possible.

. Avoid displaying valuables where criminals can see them.

. Avoid a display of expensive jewellery, cameras, cellphones and other valuables.

. Keep your handbag with you, keep it closed or zipped, and do not leave it ­unattended.

. Keep your cellphone with you and do not leave it unattended.

. Do not carry large sums of money.

. Carry your wallet in an inside pocket, never in the back pocket of your trousers.

. At night stay away from dark, isolated ­areas.

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