Stalker Alley lives up to name with spike in muggings

2017-05-05 14:00
David Clark stands near the vacant plot in Pelham that has been left unkempt and has become a haven for criminals in Stalker Alley.

David Clark stands near the vacant plot in Pelham that has been left unkempt and has become a haven for criminals in Stalker Alley. (Ian Carbutt)

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Muggers seem to be taking the name of a Pelham road literally after numerous cases of bag snatching have been reported in Stalker Alley recently.

Although usually a quiet neighbourhood, residents believe the long, uncut grass has become a haven for robbers and vagrants.

The road is home to a number of duplexes but a large open field situated nearby is the source of the crimes in the area.

David Clark, who has been living in the area for the last 11 years, said he has contacted the municipality “on a number of occasions” begging for the grass to be cut and the place to be cleaned up.

“I wrote a whole lot to the municipality last year telling them about the area but I always received mixed messages,” he said.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese warned all residents using pathways, especially those surrounded by a bushy area, to be alert while walking.

Ngobese said the police deal with many cases of bag snatching and muggings throughout the city and encouraged people to walk in groups and in well-lit areas.

“If there is no option but to use the isolated pathways, they must be aware. If it is dark, then they should rather use an alternative route for their own safety,” he said.

It is unclear who may be responsible for cleaning up the vacant land near the Duzi River, as Clark said he was first told that the vacant land was not on the municipality’s work schedule.

Upon further inquiry, he was told that the land did not belong to Msunduzi Municipality and was owned by a private company.

“I was not told the name of the corporation that owned the land, but I just want whoever is in charge of the land to clean it up,” he said.

Queries to Msunduzi Municipality went unanswered on Thursday.

Clark said Maritzburg College, situated in the area, assisted the residents by loaning them the school tractor to clean up the verges close to the duplexes.

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said she has also tried to contact the municipality since February this year.

“A lot of people, especially women, who work in this area, use the pathway often and have been mugged. The pathway leads down to the Duzi River and during the Dusi Canoe Marathon the residents also use the pathway,” she said.

She added that there was a recent house robbery in one of the complexes.

She said they believed the criminals used the vacant land and long grass to hide before and after the house robbery.

“Apart from the criminal factor, the land is also a fire hazard. If there was a fire here, the complexes around would be in a lot of danger,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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