Car broken into in central Cape Town? Police have a 24/7 drive-thru for lifting fingerprints

(File, iStock)
(File, iStock)

Smashed glass on the pavement and rubbish bags acting as temporary covers for car windows are common sights in central Cape Town, which remains the precinct worst hit by theft out of or from motor vehicles around the country.

The police station in Buitenkant Street recorded 3 710 cases for 2018/19, which was a 6.2% decrease from the previous year but still way higher than other stations nationwide in that category.

INFOGRAPHIC | Crime stats 2019 by province

Sunnyside SAPS and Pretoria Central SAPS in Gauteng had the next highest number of cases, at 1 914 and 1 395 respectively, followed by Durban Central with 1344 cases.

Many a weary Capetonian may think that the culprits will never be caught or that the police are too busy to investigate.

But they would be surprised to know that the Cape Town Central police station has been trying to make it easier for victims of vehicle break-ins to track down those with sticky fingers by offering a drive-thru booth for fingerprint lifting.

Convenience

This potentially alleviates the struggle to find parking and encourages people to have their vehicles checked before sending them in for repair.

READ | Crime Stats: Policing alone isn't enough to stem violence in SA - ISS

The vehicle booth, which is in Parade Street, was implemented a few years ago. But for the past year, officers have been placed on a 24/7 shift to maximise convenience for citizens.

Once a person has opened a case at the police station in town, they can then drive around the corner to the vehicle booth in Parade Street.

According to Western Cape police, a chain lock is fitted on the driveway in front of the vehicle booth entrance to prevent anyone from blocking the entrance.

When a citizen brings their vehicle in, the chain is unlocked and they drive to the booth.

Officials from the Local Criminal Record Centre then look for possible fingerprints to send exhibits to the Forensic Science Laboratory and Crime Scene Laboratory.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said investigations at the vehicle booth could take a half hour or an hour for example, depending on the nature and extent of the theft.

He encouraged residents to report all theft and bring their vehicles in.

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