Joint approach to tackling robberies

The catwalk between St James and Muizenberg has been a hot spot for robberies.

The spate of robberies on Sunrise beach and the catwalk from Muizenberg to St James has led to Muizenberg police, City law enforcement, neighbourhood watches and security companies getting together to tackle the problem.

“Robberies continue to be a concern to us,” said Captain Stephen Knapp of Muizenberg SAPS commenting on the working group that has been formed. He said that the affected neighbourhood watches – Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative and Marine Estate Neighbourhood Watch – as well as Mountain Men, Deep Blue Security and councillor Aimee Kuhl had met with the police and law enforcement to work out a way of complementing each others’ efforts and had started a Whatsapp group to co-ordinate patrols. Muizenberg police had also increased its patrols in those areas.

The police had increased patrols of the beach by the mounted unit and would continue to request them, said Captain Knapp. They had also been using the police helicopter. While, they could not ask for the helicopter to do dedicated patrols of the area, whenever the helicopter was doing fly-overs in the area, Muizenberg police would request that they fly over the beach as well.

“They have been doing it more often,” said Captain Knapp.

There had been a combined beach cleanup and patrol under the auspices of law enforcement on Saturday August 27 – that very, very misty day. Structures had been removed from the dunes.

Captain Knapp said that while he was patrolling the beach with the station commander, Colonel Ishmael Davids, they had noted three men on the dunes behaving erratically. They had come from Baden Powell Drive and were running from dune to dune. Each time they reached a dune they would scrabble around as though looking for something.

Despite the mist, there were a lot of people walking and the two policemen thought it best to check their behaviour as robbers commonly hid their weapons in the dunes. They chased the three and stopped them. The men said they were “looking for sour figs”. The one man had been released the previous week on bail after being arrested for robbery. They were searched but had no weapons on them.

“We couldn’t detain them, but I think we prevented a robbery,” said Captain Knapp.

Robberies were a feature of the crime in the week ending August 31 in Sector 3, Muizenberg (Lakeside and Marina da Gama through to Kalk Bay) and in most cases women were the victims. They included a common robbery on the catwalk in St James on Monday August 29 at 3.14pm by two men who grabbed a golden chain being worn by a woman who as walking with her husband. The couple followed the men who then tried again to rob her. She tried to fight them off and was thrown to the ground and was helped by some passersby. Another gold chain was grabbed off a woman walking in Holland Road, Muizenberg on Friday August 26 at lunchtime, also by two men who also took her purse.

A woman had a shocking experience on Monday August 29 at 1.10am when she woke in her Main Road, Muizenberg, home and, on getting up, saw a man with a black and silver firearm who took her cellphone. He also demanded a laptop but she didn’t own one. Also robbed at gunpoint was a woman walking on Boyes Drive towards Ponder Road on Friday August 26 at 2.30pm. Two men on a scooter threatened her with a firearm and took her bag.

In another robbery with a firearm, a man was sleeping on the bench on Main Road, St James on Tuesday August 30 at 2.15am when he was wakened by a commotion. He saw a woman and five men using a firearm to rob someone. They then turned their attention to him and stole his bag.

In the week under review there had been two burglaries from garages and four in houses. In three of those, the residents were at home. In Fraser Road, Muizenberg, on August 26 at lunchtime, the resident saw a man in her house trying to disconnect the sound system. She screamed and ran to her neighbour and the man left taking nothing.

In Sonnet Quay, Marina Da Gama on August 27 at 3am, the resident heard glass breaking and when her son checked he found their laptop had been taken. In Upper Quarterdeck Road, Kalk Bay, on Friday August 26 at 10pm, the resident’s daughter saw someone wearing a helmet in their house – he had broken in through the bedroom window.