A Main Road traffic circle that is just meters from the Hout Bay police station is a mugging hot spot.
There has been a spike in robberies at the traffic circle in recent weeks, and police are monitoring crime levels there, says Hout Bay police spokesperson Captain Tanya Lesch.
“We can’t give stats, but SAPS are doing their best to address the crime around the SAPS circle as there is an increase in robberies. We urge the community to be vigilant when on foot or on bicycle as these people are targeted by suspects.
“We will continue with following up on leads and working closely with the security companies in the area. There are no certain times where we can say more robberies are occurring.”
Sentinel learnt of the muggings from a viral Facebook post by the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch last month, warning that pedestrians and cyclists were being targeted at the traffic circle.
The muggers mostly take cellphones before fleeing towards Imizamo Yethu, according to Captain Lesch.
“There are a serious amount of robberies that occur there and many that go unreported committed by the same five to six guys, most of which are known and a few wanted,” said Community Crime Prevention (CCP) group member JJ de Villiers.
“We are collaborating with security companies, but without enough static security vehicles that are manned it’s a large area to cover 24/7, as it’s from the SAPS circle all the way to the graveyard.”
Security company boss Fareed Hoosen said four to five armed security guards were doing high-visibility vehicle patrols at random times at the traffic circle.
“We have seen crime has been increasing there, and there’s no set period of time when the crimes are occurring. We’ve noticed that sometimes cellphones are being snatched early in the morning or around 4 in the afternoon. Personally, I know friends who were robbed,” said Mr Hoosen.
“However, we have seen that the criminals don’t show up when there is security visibility or police patrolling in the area. We will be partnering with other security service providers to address these issues very soon.”
In December last year, neighbourhood watch chairperson Andrew Martin warned that “the crime on Main Road has been increasing for some time now, to the point where the Community Crime Prevention (CCP) had previously declared this as a no-go area for walking, cycling or dropping off staff“ (”More cameras next year, says Hout Bay watch,“ Sentinel, December 14 2023).
Community police forum chairman Anthony Chemaly said they were aware of more than 20 robberies on the road between the cemetery and the traffic circle in the past two-and-half months.
“The situation as it stands is completely unacceptable, and a number of meetings have been held with the station commander to address the issue without any substantial improvement in the situation.
“The SAPS team in Hout Bay are severely under-resourced and the station has been minus a number of officers and detectives including a detective commander for months now also contributing to a lack of investigation and tracing capability.”
Mr Chemaly said the CPF had urged the district police commissioner, General Vincent Beaton, to intervene because Hout Bay residents were now reluctant to visit the police station because they feared being attacked by criminals.
“We call on residents to assist by emailing the district commissioner, General Beaton, with requests to assist the station with resources by mailing email@example.com,” Mr Chemaly said.
General Beaton could not provide a response by deadline.