A spike in house robberies by armed intruders has Hout Bay residents on edge.
Over the past two weeks a number of homes and businesses have been robbed, and some people believe the incidents may be linked to the release of a number of known criminals from prison recently.
Director and operations manager for Community Crime Prevention in Hout Bay, JJ de Villiers said: “Unfortunately, we knew it was coming as there were people released from prison whose MO (Modus Operandi) match.”
He confirmed that Hout Bay had been experiencing a spike in robberies for just over two weeks.
There was a house robbery in the Upper Valley, where two men moved the camera covering their entry and then cut the electric fence which had not been reset after having been previously triggered. When they entered after “testing” it, they confronted the tenants and got away with electronics, he said.
A local coffee shop was also robbed at gunpoint during cash-up, with cash, alcohol and electronics being stolen during the incident.
Mr De Villiers said all evidence and intelligence had been handed over to police, and investigations were ongoing.
Four men also entered a home in the Hughenden area, two of them armed with firearms and one with an axe. They held up a family and made off with electronics and other goods.
“Thankfully, no one was harmed, but obviously seriously traumatic and it kills me that good people have to experience this trauma,” Mr De Villiers said.
A Hout Bay house robbery victim, who did not want to be identified, said she and her family had been locked in a room, while their home was ransacked.
The mother of four said when she pulled into the driveway, she noticed a vehicle pulling in behind them.
“Two men jumped out and ordered us to go inside. Another two then joined and they started removing our belongings. Once they had everything, they took us up to the room and locked us in there,” she said.
The woman believes they had to have been followed, claiming to have seen one of the men and the same vehicle at the Mainstream Mall, nearly an hour before the incident.
“I could be mistaken, but I am pretty sure I saw the passenger and that same car. It could be a case of people being followed home from the mall, so people should really watch their surroundings,” she said.
Last month, the spotlight was on Hout Bay’s Main Road, where several locals were being robbed, some in broad daylight, (“Watch out for Main Road muggers”, Sentinel News, January 28, 2022).
At the time, Hout Bay Community Police Forum chairman Anthony Chemaly had said that the increase in cases was linked to the number of prisoners who had recently been released.
He added that the forum was frustrated at the number of repeat offenders with multiple pending cases who were being released on bail.
“Since their release, we have seen a steady rise in incidents. We are also facing a criminal justice system so complicated and slow that many victims just give up and don’t attend court or get informed of court dates, resulting in criminals being released,” he said.
The CCP also recently followed two known house robbers and questioned them.
“They were seen in Northshore/Kronenzicht for two hours cruising around aimlessly ’scouting’, followed by the next day in Riverside/Disa/Aakhurst areas,” Mr De Villiers said.
He urged locals to check their properties’ “layers of security” and make sure they were tested regularly.
“We highly recommend area cameras, but most importantly having them monitored and a response plan in place for activations as this method of prevention is what has helped us so much in so many other areas,” Mr De Villiers said.
By the time this story was published, Hout Bay police had not yet responded to our request for comment.