Members from several crowbar gangs continue to carry out a number of break-ins in targeted communities across the Cape Flats. The act has not only seen the loss of valuable property, but is also putting many residents’ lives at risk. Last month, four suspects were arrested in the Manenberg policing precinct after being caught breaking into a house in Primrose Park.The suspects, aged between 28 and 30, who are still in custody at Pollsmoor Prison, have been charged with possession of stolen property and have been linked to several other house break-ins across the city.Captain Ian Bennet from Manenberg Police Station says the Primrose Park incident occurred on Friday 22 June at around 13:00.“Members from the K9 unit and the flying squad received information about a suspicious vehicle in the area, and found a white VW Polo with four occupants in it. When the suspects saw the police they tried driving away, but they were cornered and taken out of the vehicle,” explains BennetIt is believed that the police arrested the suspects within an hour of their first house break-in, in the Mowbray area, and recovered items to the value of R100 000.“The four suspects were wearing reflective jackets; as if they were workmen. We discovered that the vehicle they used was hired, and that they (suspects) had put false number plates on it. They also put tinted windows on the vehicle without the company’s permission.”Bennet says the vehicle was loaded with several electronic items, clothing and other valuable items.Information retrieved from the goods, which included laptops, has led police to identify the owners.“These men are definitely linked to a broader crime syndicate as they could hire a vehicle and pay a huge sum as a deposit to hire it, and then alter the vehicle’s appearance by changing number plates and tinting windows.“None of the four suspects are employed. The men were detained at Manenberg Police Station and appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday 25 and Friday 29 June. The suspects are held in custody at Pollsmoor Prison while for further investigation.”Rafique Foflonker, chairperson of the Lansdowne Community Policing Forum (CPF), urged the public to take responsibility for items on their property. “People need to place their household goods in a way that it is not viewable for criminals to see, whether they are at home at the time or not. The police cannot be everywhere at the same time, and residents are needed to join neighbourhood groups to sustain patrols during the day,” he says.He says there continues to be a general increase in burglaries across the Cape Flats, and while the syndicates’ methods are changeable, they frequently use a crowbar to gain entry into properties.“With this, there are at least four perpetrators working in the group when these activities occur. One of them is the driver and will remain in or near the vehicle to facilitate a quick getaway.“To add, in the past it was okay to have high walls placed around your property, but today these high walls are hurting our residents as neighbours cannot see what is taking place behind it during a house break-in. Criminals target these properties although residents think it’s a form of security.“We also suggest that residents place their window burglar bars on the inside of their homes and not on the outside of the frame, as this gives an easy way for criminals using tools such as a crowbar to break them off and gain entry.“This issue continues to occur daily and is an activity that takes place across the whole of the Western Cape. I urge neighbours to look out for each other during the day and to report any suspicious vehicles or behaviour of individuals in their respective areas and to contact the police immediately,” he adds.