Crime climbs in Constantia’s open spaces

Popular open spaces in Constantia Valley, like Lower Tokai Forest, are seeing an increase in incidents of crime, aoccrdoing to police and neighbourhood watches.

Crime, particularly car break-ins, remote lock jamming and pickpocketing, in the open spaces of Constantia Valley is increasing, according to police and neighbourhood watches who are urging residents to be more vigilant.

The Bergvliet, Kreupelbosch, Meadowridge (BKM) Watch warned on Facebook earlier this month that the incident rate for these crimes is increasing in Lower Tokai and Cecilia forests and at the Constantia Sports Centre and local shopping centres.

The watch advises residents to not walk or run alone or exercise with headphones and to assume they are being watched when putting items in their car boots.

Wynberg police spokesman Captain Silvino Davids said there had been a rise in vehicle break-ins in the parking lot at the foot of Cecilia Forest.

“Break-ins to vehicles have increased to a number that we are not used to. When it does happen, it is an eye-opener and a cause for concern. We encourage people to not leave anything valuable inside their vehicle.”

Kirstenhof police spokeswoman Sergeant Deidre Solomon said: “We have seen theft out of motor vehicles in the lower Tokai area pick up over the past few weeks. SAPS together with neighbourhood watch, SANParks and local security have increased visibility. This has helped and will continue.”

Diep River police say the increase in thefts from vehicles in the Constantia area and surrounds includes, but is not limited to, the Constantia Sports Centre on Constantia Main Road.

“Stash it, don’t flash it,” said Diep River police spokesman Constable Zak Marais. “People should ensure their windows and doors are always locked when parking your vehicle. Check your alarm is activated and engaged. Lock away items in your boot or rather take it out of your vehicle.”

According to a report on the Constantia Watch’s Facebook page, a Constantia woman had her bag snatched two weeks ago as she loaded groceries into her car at Constantia Village. The perpetrator jumped into a red BMW with Mpumalanga plates and sped off. The BMW was found in Ebor Road, Wynberg, and when the police searched it and its occupants they found two stolen phones.

The Bulletin has verified with Diep River and Wynberg police that this incident occurred on Thursday October 13.

The BKM Watch advises residents to hold onto personal items when shopping. “Do not leave anything in your trolley. Seal handbags closed whilst on your person,” the watch said in a Facebook post.