Criminals take the gap

2016-11-29 09:18

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Residents of Claremont, Newlands and Rondebosch fear that they are becoming easy targets for criminals.

For the past few months residents in the areas along Campground and Palmyra roads feel that criminals are targeting the area with robberies happening in daylight.

In one of the more recent incidents a family in Palmyra Road was followed into their driveway by a group of four men in a car.

In a video of the incident it is clear to see how the family pulls into the driveway from the busy road and a white Toyota follows them, squeezing through a narrow gap on the pavement.

Members of the family are then seen running away from the house as one of the robbers tries to hold the husband to keep him from escaping.

After grabbing what they can from the family’s car the Toyota speeds away.

“We were lucky to escape from them,” says one of the victims, who did not want to be named.

“They only got away with my bag, but I think it would have been worse if we did not run away. They could have kept us hostage and completely stripped valuables from our home.

“We have reported it to the police but we feel that they should step up patrols in the area with an increase in what seems to be opportunistic crimes.”

She adds that this is not the first time the family has fallen victim to crime in their neighbourhood.

“We were also held up at gun point in the parking area of the Spar and garage further up the road,” she says.

“One minute we were sitting quietly and the next we were looking into the barrel of a gun. This is not a secluded area and it was in the middle of the day.”

Another resident who did not want to be named believes the flare-up in crime started while police were busy with the FeesMustFall protests when they were called to attend to unrest on the UCT campus.

“It seems like criminals realised that police would not be able to be on their normal patrols,” he says.

“That is when these opportunistic crimes started happening with some houses getting robbed and incidents of breaking into cars near the bridge leading to Claremont.

“I was also mugged while out walking, but luckily they only managed to get away with my cellphone. I hope that we can start working with police and make people aware of this new trend and catch the culprits.”

Jade Hanning, the area’s district manager of ADT Security, says residents in these suburbs should remain vigilant and be aware of events in their neighbourhoods.

“We normally see an increase in the number of alarm activations we respond to during this time of year as the festive season approaches,” he says.

“As normal we work closely with Claremont police and the HarLyn Watch to increase our visible patrols in the area and have already arranged a number of special patrols and roadblocks along, and close to, Palmyra Road in recent weeks.

“Our advice to residents is that they test their home security systems to make sure they are working properly. If not, they must contact their security provider as soon as possible.

“Don’t wait till you are about to leave for holiday before realising your alarm system is faulty.

“There is also no better early-alert system in the world than a community who immediately raises the alarm when they see something suspicious in their area.

“Lastly, always report all incidents to the police even if it was an attempted robbery. They cannot do their work properly if residents don’t report all incidents to them.”

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