Chasedene crime wave

2013-10-16 00:00

THE Chasedene area near the Liberty Midlands Mall has been gripped by a crime wave that has left the residents scurrying for protection in fear of their lives, community members have said.

In the past month, residents of the quiet Pietermaritzburg suburb, who asked not to be named, said there had been an unexplained increase in house robberies.

They claim there have been at least five robberies and attempted robberies this month alone.

Local councillor David Ryder said he had been aware of at least one robbery and attempted robbery in the past month.

Ryder said: “There was an elderly woman who was attacked by two males who roughed her up a bit and took what they wanted. I also know about the attempted break-in, which the people did not report to the police, which was a bit silly.”

In September, an 83-year-old woman was confronted by men inside her house with a knife.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said the suspects ransacked the house and put a radio, bedside lamps and jewellery to the approximate value of R200 000 into a suitcase and fled through a bedroom window.

The daughter of the woman said her mother faced a traumatic ordeal. “They assaulted her and robbed her of her belongings, including her wedding ring, which she has been wearing for the past 40 years. She is partially disabled and because of that she had to drag herself across the floor to try and call out for help,” she said.

The daughter said there was also a burglary attempt at her own home, also in Chasedene.

The criminals bent the lock on her gate trying to force it open but failed. “There have been numerous house break-ins and they have broken into many sheds around here, stealing brush cutters and other things.”

Another resident said her son was forced to stay up all night to guard his home. “Nobody is feeling very safe in that area … it is a bad crime area.”

She is now upgrading her alarm system.

“... One criminal was being chased by a homeowner and he ran through my yard,” she said.

The fear in the area is palpable.

While The Witness was interviewing two community members, another resident who was not part of the interview walked over and asked if there had been another robbery.

“I thought there had been another robbery,” she said.

The residents raised concerns about the vacant houses that were bought to be demolished to make way for the third phase of the Liberty Midlands Mall development.

The block of houses, numbering over 18, have no roofs or windows.

“These have been vacant for more than two years; it was much better when there were still people occupying them.”

Chairperson of the community policing forum Ed Szudrawski said over the past two months, the flats and some businesses in the area had been targeted. He was not sure how many had been affected.

The police said they had not received any other reports.

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