The Bloemfontein police are warning residents, businesses, students and motorists about escalating crime in the central business district (CBD).
According to the police, common robbery and theft from vehicles are increasing sharply, with criminals targeting motorists, residents and students.
Const. Peter Kareli, provincial spokesperson, says there are no specific times when crime is committed.
He says the perpetrators target cellphones, laptops and all other portable electrical items.
Kareli says criminals lie in wait for students going to and returning from institutions of learning.
He discourages residents from walking in secluded areas and with headsets visible.
“This indicates what type of cellphone you are in possession of.
“Walking in secluded areas gives criminals an opportunity to steal and make a quick getaway. Also be aware when in crowded areas,” says Kareli.
Pickpocketing and purse-snatching, as well as theft from vehicles, remains a big concern.
The victims’ negligence is often to blame in these cases, says Kareli.
He says victims reportedly leave their laptop bags when quickly going to shop, only to discover on return that their vehicles had been broken into and their belongings stolen.
Kareli says incidents of theft from vehicles were coupled with the theft of the vehicles themselves.
He says the Bloemfontein inner city and surrounding shopping complexes are hotspots for robbery and theft out of motor vehicles.
“These crimes usually occur in places where there is a high volume of people or during busy times of the month.
“Criminals take advantage of these circumstances to grab cell phones and handbags, and in other cases, use remote jamming devices to steal personal belongings out of vehicles,” he says.