Move to boost parkrun safety after bag snatched

The Hout Bay Parkrun volunteers keeping track of the time for all participants.

The organisers of the Hout Bay parkrun have vowed to beef up security after two men snatched a woman’s bag on the course last month.

The incident happened about 1.5km from the start, at about 8am on Saturday April 2. The men had approached the woman from the opposite direction before grabbing her bag and running off.

She screamed for help, alerting the marshals and other participants who chased the thieves who ran across the river.

Community Crime Prevention/Watchcon alerted all security companies on the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch emergency channel, and ADT staff caught two suspects later.

Hout Bay police confirmed that two men were arrested and charged with robbery. They appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Monday April 4, and the case was postponed twice before the accused were granted bail. They are due to appear again on Monday May 30.

Hout Bay parkrun organiser Fred Nebe said the woman had been “very traumatised”, but she had later laid a charge at Hout Bay police station and had managed to get everything back.

“I have spoken to ADT who will show a presence, and I will speak to Deep Blue,” said Mr Nebe.

Volunteer marshals directed parkrun participants around the 5km route, and someone walked at the back to check everyone returned and record their times with a barcode that was also used as an ID with details of next of kin and other important information, he said.

The organisers have now started encouraging participants to download the Buzzer app, which uses geolocation technology to pinpoint someone’s position and has a panic-button function. They also have security vehicles stationed at three access points at Manchester Street, Victoria Bridge and Princess Street.

“Safety is on the forefront of all our minds and we constantly need effective ways to stay safe,” Mr Nebe said.

Users of the Buzzer app can get help in an emergency by pushing the SOS button. There is no need to remember the right number or even try to explain your situation. Buzzer automatically pinpoints a user’s location when they open the app. Alerts go directly to the local control room or response team managing the area you are in.

Mr Nebe encouraged all participants to not carry bags or valuables and rather leave them at the start.

For more information, call 087 950 7260.

Two men snatched a woman’s bag on the parkrun course last month.
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