Subways too risky

2018-03-20 06:00

Rosebank subways are “a nightmare”. According to residents, four subways are being neglected by the authorities, posing a risk to pedestrians who opt to use them as short-cuts from the Main Road.

These subways are located at Alma Road, Rosebank Station, Liesbeek Road and Burg Street. People are reportedly being attacked and robbed of their belongings­.

Chairperson of the Mowbray Community Policing Forum (CPF), Jonathan Hobday, says: “[The subways] are constant crime hotspots with incidents of mugging occurring on a regular basis. Criminals prey on unsuspecting pedestrians all the time. Victims tend to be students or elderly people, especially if they are carrying valuable electronic equipment or riding bicycles and are walking or riding alone.”

He says the CPF has tried to engage with relevant parties in an effort to find solutions.

According to Hobday, the subway at Rosebank Station now has 24-hour Metrorail security and the Liesbeek Neighbourhood Watch has introduced a foot patrol at the Alma Road subway, which operates for most of the day. “This is a big help,” says Hobday

Hobday says the subways are also patrolled from time to time by the Mowbray and Rondebosch police sector vans, as well as other local safety units.

He says the CPF also encourages private security companies to keep an eye on the subways. “Mowbray CPF believes that such active patrolling by all the security instances working together is vital to ensuring that the subways remain more usable and safer for the community.”

Hobday advises the public to be vigilant in their use and try to use the subways in groups rather than walking alone and to not use the subways late at night. “Clearly, the busier the subway, the less chance of a criminal attack­.”

He says the Mowbray CPF also believes it is essential that the City of Cape Town and Metrorail ensure that the subways are kept in a constant state of good repair and that they are properly cleaned, well maintained, well lit and well signposted.

“All too often, these subways are allowed to become rundown, poorly lit, flooded or filthy and weed infested. This is a poor reflection of City management,” Hobday says.

Ward councillor Paddy Chapple says he has been trying to no avail to get the City and Metrorail to find solutions. He says the issues will be tabled at Council on Monday 19 March.

Rondebosch police spokesperson Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam says reports of crime in the identified subways have not increased, but it could be that crimes are not being reported to the police. Sisam says one subway used by students in Rouwkoop Road has been identified as a problem and police have requested the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District to keep an eye out during peak morning times.

“Extra members are deployed in hotspot areas after a crime pattern analysis indicates an increase in certain reported crimes. Therefore we encourage the community to report incidents of crime so that we can actually do something about it. We urge the community to be vigilant and aware when using subways. Before entering a subway, check to see if any suspicious persons are waiting on the other side or loitering inside the subway.”

He says the station is worried about the state of some of the subways and has urged the City and Prasa to do more to maintain them.
It is not clear to whom the subways belong. The City of Cape Town says they are privately owned.

Mayco member (South) Eddie Andrews says: “Please note that these questions should be directed to Prasa. The City will ensure that the area is cleaned whilst clarity is sought regarding the ownership and maintenance responsibility of the land in question.”

Spokesperson for Prasa, Riana Scott, says: “The subway that connects Liesbeek and Alma streets is some way from the station. It is a City asset and they will be best suited to respond.”


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