Flowing with crime

2016-03-15 10:23
The Elsieskraal canal which flows through Surrey Estate has become a breeding ground for criminals, residents say. Inset: Cathy Agulhas, who lives near the canal, points to the wall where her lamps were stolen off her property.

The Elsieskraal canal which flows through Surrey Estate has become a breeding ground for criminals, residents say. Inset: Cathy Agulhas, who lives near the canal, points to the wall where her lamps were stolen off her property. ( Earl Haupt)

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Residents who live next to the Elsies­kraal canal in Surrey Estate are living in fear due to the frequency of crime they have witnessed in the area.

Despite the presence of a neighbourhood watch in the area, residents are at their wits’ end because of the threat they face on a daily basis.
Cathy Agulhas, who lives near the Elsies­kraal canal, says it’s especially when Aries Street goes quiet while Surrey Primary School is in session when the criminals rear their ugly heads.

“I am just sick and tired of all the things that are going on here. We report these things and nothing happened. The guys sit on the edge of the canal and are robbing people. If you come out then they call you names and the next time they break into your house,” she says.

Her garden equipment had been stolen, along with birds she kept as pets.
“What can I do about it? I report to the police and nothing happens. They just come back to you and say that there is not enough evidence, that they didn’t catch anyone and the case is then dropped.
“If we then take matters into our own hands, then we are the ones who go to jail and the thief gets away.”

Another resident, Maurice Roman, says he did not bother to call the police after his wife was robbed at the canal as he had felt let down by the police too many times in the past.

“My wife came down to the hairdresser and she walked along the canal here and they robbed her at about 13:00 on a Friday afternoon. We did not even report it to the cops, because nothing happens. You phone and nobody comes and nothing happens and everybody feels the same here. When they do come, then it is four or five hours after the incident happened,” he says.

Fortunately his wife was not hurt badly, only getting a few scratches on her arm, he says. Roman was more disturbed that the alleged crime took place in broad daylight.

“I told her that in the future never to ever walk along the canal, especially when it gets to lunch time and it gets very quiet. We have seen a lot of people who were robbed here during the day. It is not safe here and they are even attacking senior citizens and they don’t have respect towards the old people.”
Lieutenant Ian Bennett, Manenberg police’s spokesperson, says police are aware that the area around the canal is potentially dangerous. But not enough criminal cases have been reported at the station to make a difference in their crime pattern analysis before they deploy more police to the area.

“The biggest challenge that we have at the moment is that the community is not reporting the crime. We are aware of the crime, but they are not reporting it and not making cases. This becomes difficult, because the person who deploys the police in the hotspots according to the crime pattern analysis, he would then not know that that is a hotspot.

“We encourage the community, no matter how petty it might seem, to report the crime so that it can go onto the system and the members can be deployed according to the crime pattern analysis. We are aware of the incidents, but it is not reported crime. We deploy the members according to the reported crime in areas of concern,” Bennett says.

Anyone with information relating to criminal activity can call Manenberg police on 021 699 9400 or CrimeStop on 0860 010 111.

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