Focus on theft from cars

2019-09-24 06:00
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Crime statistics for 2018/2019 released on 12 September flagged a high incident of theft out of or from a vehicle with a total of 807 cases reported in Claremont. Other areas of concern in Claremont were carjacking figures, which showed an increase from eight to 18, and the prevalence of burglaries at residential premises which stood at 437 cases reported.

Abdul Kerbelker, Claremont community policing forum (CPF) chair, says these statistics are in line with Claremont police station being a “property crime station” where burglaries and theft of and theft from or out of motor vehicles are the focus of both criminals and the police.

“However, it is a false narrative to compare statistics from a police station like Claremont to those of a police station from Rondebosch or Mowbray.

Claremont covers up to four times the area of any one of these stations which means up to four times the cases and four times the potential for criminals to potentially steal,” says Kerbelker.

He does identify theft out of or from motor vehicles as a concern in the area.

“As the CPF, we constantly have to make residents and users of Claremont aware that, living in a property crime area, you cannot leave valuables in your car in plain sight. Criminals do watch and see if you place valuables in your cubby or boot.”

He says CPF has been working in partnership with Claremont police station on this crime category for the past three months and hopefully this will reflect in next year’s crime stats.

Although burglaries at residential and non-residential premises have come down when compared to the previous year’s statistics (from 453 to 457 cases and from 89 to 53, respectively), it remains a concern in the area, says station commander Col Maree Louw of Claremont police station.

She says they have taken steps to address the trio crimes – carjackings, house robberies and business robberies – as well as theft from vehicles.

“Meetings were held in each sector with community representatives and strategic plans were made to tackle these crimes,” says Louw.

Law enforcement, metro police, neighbourhood watch groups, CPF and local security companies are working together to curb crime in Claremont.

“Licence plate recognition cameras have been especially helpful. Crimes in Claremont are being committed by people who live outside the area. Neighbourhood watch groups and security companies alert us through WhatsApp if a suspicious vehicle is seen in a hot spot area. Our reaction teams respond to these alerts,” Louw explains.

Incidents of carjacking in Claremont are often related to theft of merchandise from delivery vehicles and carjacking of Uber vehicles or taxis. 

  • Ensure security gates are locked at all times;
  • At night, close all windows;
  • During the day, ensure the garage door is closed – even if it is only left open slightly, it creates an opportunity for theft;
  • When leaving the premises, always activate the alarm system and, where possible, inform your neighbours you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on your property;
  • Only put your wheelie bin outside on the morning of collection day as it can be used a tool for crime (a ladder to climb over a wall and it attracts vagrants who are opportunists);
  • Do not leave any items in vehicles;
  • To prevent possible carjackings, monitor the surrounding area before entering or leaving your residence;
  • At intersections, ensure your windows are closed and doors locked and do not place items, for example handbags, on the passenger seat;
  • Always report suspicious activity.

  •  To report suspicious activity, call Claremont police station on 021 657 2250.

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