Cops warn of smash-and-grab hot spot

A smash-and-grab robber scouts out his victims very carefully and then goes in for the kill. The corner of Voortrekker Road and Jakes Gerwel Drive, Goodwood, has been identified as a problem area where several smash-and-grabs have taken place.

The corner of Voortrekker Road and Jakes Gerwel Drive, Goodwood, is “becoming a problem” with several smash- and-grabs taking place there.

According to Goodwood SAPS, there’s been 19 reported cases since August last year.

“What about the cases not reported?” said Warrant Officer Deon Smith at a recent Goodwood SAPS meeting for sectors 1 and 3.

He said motorists were most vulnerable in the early morning while on their way to work.

Warrant Officer Smith said council should be asked to post warning signs, such as those further down Jakes Gerwel Drive, in Langa, which is considered a hot spot for smash-and-grabs.

According to the City of Cape Town, there have been 13 recorded incidents at various intersections along Jakes Gerwel Drive in February, five (one robbery, one smash- and-grab, three attempted smash -and-grabs) were at the intersection with the N2.

Ward 27 councillor, Cecile Janse van Rensburg, who was at the meeting, said a request should be made for warning signs.

Sector 1 chairperson Selaelo Arendse also referred to smash- and-grabs in her report, but she said residents should not look elsewhere for the criminals.

“These are our own children (involved in smash-and-grabs). They don’t come from far. We are just as guilty if your child comes home with a cellphone, or a bag, or an ID you don’t know?,” she said.

In February, Goodwood SAPS arrested eight men in the Olympic Park informal settlement for robbery. According to a media statement at the time, the suspects were all known criminals. The police found an ID, which they later discovered, belonged to a victim of a smash-and-grab.

Area central mini mayor Siyabulela Mamkeli said the City would be open to putting up signage “if the situation warrants it”. As for the assertion that the criminals could have moved from other hot spots, to Goodwood, the City said it could be a possibility, but a number of intersections along Jakes Gerwel Drive were problematic for smash-and-grabs.

“Criminals will operate in areas where they have quick escape routes, so any intersection that is considered to be close to such escape routes could be potentially problematic,” he said.

Mr Mamkeli said high foot traffic in the area, made it difficult to finger a potential attacker. He asked motorists to be alert and keep valuables out of sight.

“We have seen far too many instances where motorists are distracted, by their cellphones in particular, even though it is against the law to use cellphones while you’re in control of a motor vehicle,” he said.