Smash-and-grab incidents have seen a steady rise month by month from April to September this year, while theft from motor vehicles has shown a slight decrease. To raise awareness of these crimes in identified hotspots, officers from the City of Cape Town’s Metro Police Department initiated an awareness campaign.
The top five smash-and-grab hotspots are at intersections along Jakes Gerwel Drive.
Here are the top five locations for theft from motor vehicles:
- Stellenbosch Arterial Road and Adam Tas Road
- Robert Sobukwe Road and 35th Avenue
- 35th Avenue and Bishop Lavis Drive
- Owen Street and 35th Avenue
- Reygersdal on the Atlantis MyCiTi route.
Smash-and-grab crimes involve the breaking or smashing of vehicle windows to snatch visible and valuable items from drivers or passengers. Theft from motor vehicles entails grabbing valuables from vehicles with open windows or items left on the back of vehicles.
‘Motorists are most vulnerable when stationary at an intersection, often distracted by their cellphones or other items. With an increase in these crimes over recent months and the approaching festive season, criminals are likely to escalate their activities.’ – Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith
The majority of incidents are recorded on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Law enforcement departments conduct operations along these routes as they are aware of these areas being hotspots. Drivers are also continually educated to avoid risky behavior. Camera surveillance teams also play a role in alerting authorities to suspicious activity.
‘While we can’t station officers 24/7 due to limited resources, both the South African Police Service and motorists need to play their part. Motorists should be vigilant in these known hotspots, securing valuables out of sight and ensuring their doors are locked.’
Metro Police officers are actively engaged in awareness campaigns, with the most recent occurring along the N2 and Jakes Gerwel Drive.
‘Sadly, officers found motorists distracted by their cellphones, leaving handbags and valuables on front passenger seats, and generally unaware of their surroundings,’ noted Smith.
Victims are urged to report incidents to SAPS and file charges. Smith emphasized the importance of victims pursuing criminal cases, as without proper legal proceedings, offenders cannot be held accountable.
‘We cannot let criminals off the hook so easily. Not reporting incidents can create a false sense of security and put others at risk. Together, we can put an end to these crimes,’
Residents are reminded to report criminal activity or emergencies by calling 021 480 77 00 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.