Westville under seige

2014-08-12 00:00

WESTVILLE residents are plagued by home invaders, with the area experiencing a shocking 400% increase in house robberies over the past eight years.

While the police say incidents are “prevalent but stable,” a recent spate of violent home-invasions has been noteworthy for the escalation in force, a factor that police do not measure. These include:

•August 6: A Westville woman’s quick thinking saved her two young children in a violent home invasion last Wednesday.

As the robbers forced their way into her locked bedroom where she had taken refuge with her sons aged eight and 10, Jesh Maharaj pushed them to safety through an open window. No arrests have been made. The daytime house robbery saw three men forcing their way through a reinforced steel gate in High-Wycombe Road. Domestic worker Jennifer Phiri was stabbed as she tried to flee. No arrests have been made.

•August 2: A gang used a grappling hook to tear a gate from its hinges in Sunnybrae Road, Westville. The daylight assault saw three men force their way into Peter George’s home on Saturday afternoon. After ripping the reinforced gate from its posts, the three kicked in the front door. George warded off the robbers and nothing was stolen. No arrests have been made.

•July 31: A couple’s plan to celebrate their wedding anniversary turned into a nightmare after robbers held them at gunpoint in Lansdowne Road, Westville.

Psychologist Michele Naude and her family were held at gunpoint at their home in while robbers demanded money. Naude said three men walked through the family’s front door after jumping over the fence. Her nine-year-old son was held at gunpoint and taken to a bedroom with their domestic worker. No arrests have been made.

•July 27: Veteran cyclist Vaughan Cronjé of Westville walked two kilometres with a punctured lung after he was attacked and stabbed as he prepared for the Cycling World Championships.

He had 30 stitches for facial cuts alone after being confronted by five men while on a training ride in Westville North. No arrests have been made.

Police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said that the situation was stable.

“According to the station commander the house robberies in Westville, although prevalent, are stable. In fact the house robberies for the previous month showed a decrease,” he said.

He added that the crime spiral in Westville was “on par” with other suburbs in Durban.

“When compared to the other suburbs in Durban, Westville is on par and would not warrant a special intervention. This does not mean the residents should not be cautious and employ preventative measures at all times,” he said.

In April last year, KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni established a multi-disciplinary task team to tackle a sharp rise in violent crime in the Highway area.

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