Concerned about crime

Joanne Louw shows CCTV footage of thieves stealing an almost new bakkie from in front of her home.

An apparent spike in crime, such as car-jackings, house burglary and armed robbery during June have raised questions about safety and security in Plumstead and Wynberg.

Crime is getting worse; it is like living in the Wild West according to Plumstead resident Joanne Louw. At the same time that her ex-husband’s almost new vehicle was stolen in front of her home in Waterbury Road, Liezel van der Linde, 44, was stabbed to death in Sydney Road in Wynberg East last Thursday July 6.

According to a resident, Ms Van der Linde was a pet and house-sitter and had someone staying with her.

Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Ursula Schenker said that according to statistics, Ms Van Der Linde’s murder is the first in this area for the longest time. “Residents are alarmed that the four dogs did not bark,” she said.

Wynberg police were contacted by phone and email on the day following the crime and on Monday July 10 but have not responded to questions.

Ms Louw called the Bulletin last week about a spate of crimes at her Waterbury home over the past few months.

Her voice tremulous, tripping over words, fear bubbled over as she related details of an armed hijacking, a stolen vehicle, an eviction threat and a break-in.

When the Bulletin visited her in the short stretch lined with houses earmarked for demolition to make way for the proposed MyCiTi route, Ms Louw looked exhausted. She has sleepless nights following an armed hijacking in March.

Her 81-year-old mother, 17-year-old son, herself and her brother returned to Waterbury Road after going to a restaurant. Her brother dropped them off and while they were saying goodbye, three men came around the corner.

“It was like in a movie. One was wearing red Converse takkies. One drew a firearm. My brother was walking back to his car which was down the road and was unaware of what was happening. My gut instinct was flight. My son and I hid behind a wheelie bin on the veranda leaving my mum in the road.”

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They grabbed her, she fell, they yanked her bag from her then walked to my brother’s car and drove off in it. We called the Flying Squad … they were very good,” she said.

Recalling the events, she said thanks to licence plate recognition cameras, the Flying Squad gave chase, firing shots. The men stopped the car and fled into a maze of flats and alleys in Hanover Park. Miraculously the car was okay but her mum lost a lot, money and documents. “A councillor from Diep River police visited, which helped, we live in fear. We have a routine when we leave the house and we don’t go out at night. We shouldn’t have to live like this,” said Ms Louw.

Showing CCTV footage taken by a neighbour, she said her ex-husband, Johan Louw, bought the Kia 2.7 “workhorse” two weeks ago. It took less than 15 seconds to get the bakkie going.

Ms Louw said three school boys have been robbed of their cellphones at gun-point in the road over the past two months. All crimes were reported to the police and cases opened. When the Bulletin followed up on the armed robbery case with Wynberg police they did not respond to questions.

Diep River police spokesperson Sergeant Amanda Gordon said in the case of the stolen Kia, no arrests have yet been made and the vehicle has not been recovered.

She said their crime stats for the period of April to June this year show an overall decrease in contact crimes by 26.47%, a decrease in property related crimes by 36.64%. Last month, June, contact crime decreased by 8.57% and property related crime decreased by 41.96%.

Charmaine Lillie, chairperson of Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch, said they have not noticed an increase with the exception of opportunistic crimes.

BLOB In recent media releases, Sergeant Gordon said three men, two armed with firearms, held up a resident outside his house in Trentham Road, Plumstead, on June 9, at 9.50pm after he had parked his vehicle in the driveway. The resident noticed a dark coloured vehicle approach and the three men ordered him to open his home. The man said he could not open the door and told the men to take his vehicle and cellphone. After one of the men unsuccessfully tried to open the front door they left. Anyone with information can contact Detective Sergeant Arnold Bosch on 021 710 7360.

BLOB Three men, one armed with a silver coloured pistol another with a knife, held the weapons at the head of a resident in Topsham Road, Plumstead, on June 25 at 2.05am. After demanding his possessions they drove off in their white Jetta and the homeowner’s red Polo Vivo. Two of the men, residents in Mitchell’s Plain, were arrested after they were found in possession of the white Jetta. The Polo was recovered, abandoned in Khayelitsha. Anyone with information can contact Detective Sergeant Shaun Lawrence on 021 710 7351.

BLOB Two men were sitting in their vehicle in Tobruk Road, Plumstead, on June 28, at 6.20am, when two men climbed into the car and threatened them with knives. After robbing the two men the thieves fled. The owner of the vehicle contacted Diep River police who gave chase and arrested the two thieves who live in Wynberg. The case is currently under investigation. Anyone with information can contact Detective Constable Elrico Booysen on 021 710 7359.

BLOB A resident arrived at his Ferguson Road, Plumstead home on June 13 at 11.55am to find a man in his garage. The thief fled by jumping over the neighbour’s fence. The Valhalla Park man was later apprehended by members of the public and was arrested and charged with burglary residential. The case is currently under investigation.

BLOB A female resident arrived at her Avenue Dumidi home in Plumstead on June 14 at 8.50am to find that the house had been broken into. Wynberg police later found five men who reside in the Philippi and Nyanga precinct in possession of the stolen items.

BLOB For the week June 9 to 16, 17 arrests were made for various offences on charges ranging from possession of stolen goods, possession of drugs, assault, house break-in and theft, drunk and driving, theft and attempted rape.

Ms Schenker said residents are responsible for their own safety and must be vigilant, ensuring that windows, doors and all entrances to their property are adequately secured at all times as most crimes are opportunistic and drug use is a major contributing factor.

Sergeant Gordon asked residents to remain vigilant when stopping their vehicles at traffic lights and stop signs or when parking their vehicles. If residents notice someone acting suspiciously they should not stop their vehicle, where possible, and should contact Diep River police at 021 710 7388. And when parking your vehicle at your residence, lock the gate immediately.