Howick hit by business, residential crime

2015-11-04 06:00

A SPIKE in business and residential break-ins in Howick has seen the police up their patrols while businesses scramble to protect their assets.

According to information, almost 20 incidents of business and residential break-ins, theft out of motor vehicles and intruders on properties have been reported in Howick in just over two weeks.

Howick police said the rise in crime “has been noted”.

Officers are also concerned about the recent spate of violent business robberies in the Howick West area.

The Witness recorded at least 19 incidents since the beginning of the month - four of which were reported from business premises and 15 from residential dwellings.

On 7 October, Induna Mills was struck by copper thieves who were disturbed by a security guard and managed to flee the premises.

The next day, another business was broken into on Laurel Road in Merrivale. On 10 and 11 October, two businesses in Thomas Road in Merrivale were broken into. In one of those businesses, items close to the window that was broken by thieves, were stolen.

Homeowners from Howick and Merrivale reported break-ins, theft from motor vehicles while parked in their yard as well as common theft of items left in their yards.

Geekie Road, Amber Avenue, Miller Street and Devon Place are some of the areas most regularly targeted.

Residents reported gates taken off the rails and cellphones and other electronic items stolen from inside their homes.

SAPS spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said Howick police have increased patrols and visibility, especially in the Geekie Road area due to concerns raised over the theft of, and out of, motor vehicle cases that have been reported.

Ebrahim also warned the community to be vigilant when using ATMs as numerous cases of fraud have also been reported.

Ebrahim said the acting station commander of Howick police station, Lieutenant-Colonel Trevor Spalding, has planned joint operations under Operation Fiyela to address the recent spate of crime.

“The community is encouraged to report all crime committed or suspicious activities to the Howick police immediately so that the necessary police action may be taken,” Ebrahim said.

Ward 2 councillor Janis Holmes said because Howick is a small town, criminal gangs sometimes target the suburbs, go on a crime spree and leave the area afterwards.

Holmes said the number of derelict buildings and plots of unmaintained land in the town also “does not help”.

“This gives criminals the opportunity to stake out homes. An example is the cemetery on the corner of Miller Street which is commonly used as a hiding place.”

The Howick and Midlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Mano Naidoo said the crime wave is “causing serious problems” for businesses in Howick. “There is definitely a concern,” Naidoo said.

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