Cape Town, South Africa has become the focus for a new surge of crime strikes recently. Suburbs located in the southern parts of Cape Town have been hard hit with this recent escalation of crime. Various residential areas of Cape Town, including Crawford, Lansdowne and Rondebosch East are experiencing a record crime wave of burglaries, violent attacks and hijackings. At least one person has died in the crime spree, and valuables including cash have been stolen.
A Rondebosch East resident was brutally stabbed to death in his home last month. Mike Kabat, a chairperson of the Claremont Community Police Forum (CPF) told the police that he noticed his neighbor’s garage door open and tried to call but did not receive a reply. He alerted the police and discovered the man lying in a pool of blood. Multiple stab wounds in the neck and shoulders were visible. At the time, the intruders entered the house, the 87-year-old mother who is unable to speak and suffering from Alzheimer’s was unharmed. Valuables, television sets and two motor cars were stolen.
The suburb of Crawford has been particularly hard hit. For instance there was a burglary in the area last week although thankfully the tenant was not harmed. She did though wake up and was dismayed to discover that her entire house had been ransacked. The burglars broke a bedroom window to gain access. The victim admitted she was traumatized from the incident and did not feel safe in her own home any longer.
In the same area, two men stopped their car outside their home and were chatting when three men approached them and held them at gunpoint, demanding the driver to get out of the vehicle. When the man refused, he was hit with the gun and forced out of the car. The offenders got into the car and drove off with the friend still in the car. At an appropriate time, he jumped out of the moving car to safety.
Another burglary in Rondebosch East, Cape Town, South Africa occurred the following day when suspects jumped over their security gates, managed to disable the remote-controlled doors and smashed through three doors with a crowbar to gain entrance while the residents were attending a church service. The felons got away with cash and valuables.
A CPF spokesperson said Lansdowne had experienced more than 15 incidents of housebreaking, theft and hijacking in the past month. He said the area was targeted as a soft spot and blamed the lack of police presence for the crime escalation.
In Crawford, businesses have also become targets of crime. The deputy chairperson of CPF, Edward Doe blamed the reluctance of community members to become involved and a shortage of police patrols within the area for the current high crime wave. Residents in the affected areas are disappointed with the poor visibility of police and are concerned for their safety. People are also afraid that the current crime wave will spiral out of control. The CPF has said it will strengthen their patrols in these areas.
A police spokesperson, Colonel Thebinkosi Kinana confirmed the police had prioritized the areas where there have been serious crimes, in terms of fighting crime, and indicated that criminals would be apprehended, charged and brought to court to face justice. He revealed that a group of Tanzanians had been detained and since the arrests, house robberies have decreased.
When perpetrators decide to enter your home, they will do so, no matter what. They do not have any fear of security gates, alarms or armed response links. According to Rondebosch East resident, Gregory Harper, it is experienced gangs watching targeted areas that are responsible for the increased crime.
The recent spate of crime affecting the southern suburbs of Cape Town is a continuation of crime spiraling around South Africa. Residents want to promote an atmosphere of safety and will continue to support the CPF by combining the affected areas in tackling crime. This new surge of crime in Cape Town has created a community of fear and turned to their own neighborhood watch to combat the recent incidents.
By Laura Oneale