A GROUP of concerned homeowners in Acacia Street in Greytown have called for the intervention of local authorities to curb the number of house break-ins in the suburb. According to some of the residents in Acacia Street, when criminal activity spiralled out of control a few years ago, ratepayers convened a special meeting and signed a petition to request that Umvoti Local Municipality erect high mast spotlights, like those used at sports fields, in the vicinity of their homes.A resident who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation said:“We are grateful about the fact that the mayor of Umvoti Municipality [Thami Ngubane] responded [to our request] and installed a few spotlights around our homes. In that regard, there was a drastic decrease [in the number of] house break-ins at our street. However, last year we learnt, through the grapevine, that somebody had turned the lights to face the direction of the soccer field. After this, house break-ins started again. “In a recent incident, I saw a guy jumping into my yard. When he noticed that I was outside, he ran away.”Another resident who spoke to the Gazette under condition of anonymity said: “Behind our homes there is a sports field that is frequently used by soccer players. Due to the poor visibility at the field, we heard that a senior official gave an instruction for the lights to be turned to face the direction of the soccer field — leaving our homes in the dark. This gave criminals an opportunity to strike again.“A few years ago, our homes were [frequently] broken into and our dogs were poisoned. We approached the municipality for assistance. It’s sad to see that the lights that were supplied to the residents are now being used by the soccer field. “The outdoor sports lighting that was put up helped us in reducing house break-ins. Criminals are now taking advantage [of the fact] that the area is dark [again],” she said.Another resident said: “Last year, a few days after my neighbour’s home was broken into, suspects broke into my house and stole my tools. I phoned the security company. When the officers arrived, they fired [warning] shots, and the suspects ran away. The stolen items were recovered the following day, a few metres away from my house.”Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that the police were investigating a case of theft after copper pipes were stolen from a home in Acacia Street.