Four intersections in the Cape have been identified as key smash-and-grab and theft-out-of-motor-vehicle zones by the City of Cape Town.
The interesection of Jakes Gerwel Drive is a notorious smash-and-grab hotspot, and the numbers of incidents recorded between May and October 2018 matched those recorded during the same months in 2015.
CCTV operators captured 143 smash-and-grab incidents or attempts that took place between May and October this year. Nearly 90% (126) of these took place at the N2 off-ramp to Jakes Gerwel Drive and Jakkalsvlei Avenue into Bonteheuwel. Four arrests were made during the same period for crimes committed at the intersection.
An intersection in Bishop Lavis between Robert Sobukwe Road and 35th Avenue is known as a hotspot for incidents of theft-out-of-motor- vehicles. Criminals typically target motorists who drive with their windows open or doors unlocked, grabbing cellphones and other visible valuables within easy reach.
A total of 120 incidents at the Bishop Lavis intersection were recorded between May and October in 2018.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, JP Smith, says that concentrated efforts by the South African Police Service and the City has helped to drastically reduce the number of incidents in Bishop Lavis.
“What’s interesting is that the number of incidents in Bishop Lavis dropped to zero in October after sustained efforts between the two local police stations and the City. Known perpetrators were profiled and warned by the SAPS teams and this strategy seems to have paid off,” he says.
Surveillance cameras have been placed at the intersection to increase security and safety measures.
Smith says that it is important for the public to play their role in preventing out-of-car theft.
“It … makes sense to have a sustained presence in an area, but we do not have the resources to do that. I would hazard a guess and say the same applies to SAPS. With all of the competing priorities for policing, it is impossible to be everywhere and that is why the public’s role in this is so crucial,” says Smith.
The City is urging motorists to be mindful at all times, as smash-and-grab crimes are opportunistic in nature.
“The informal settlement along Jakes Gerwel Drive is a prime example. It means that criminals can disappear very quickly and there is high pedestrian footfall, so motorists don’t always see the attack coming,” he says.
Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of smash-and-grab incidents
1. Keep all valuables in your car out of sight either in the boot or underneath the seats.
2. Make sure your doors are locked and windows closed when you approach intersections or crossings.
3. When approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down so that you reach the crossing when the light has already turned green. This will reduce the risk of being in a vulnerable stationary position at an intersection.
4. Be cautious of people loitering at traffic lights or intersections.
5. Avoid discussions with vendors at intersections as it provides an ideal distraction for a perpetrator to access vehicles and motorist’s goods.
Smash-and-grab incidents can reported to the nearest police station or the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.
Picture: City of Cape Town