Parow police have warned commuters to be vigilant when using “pirate taxis” along Voortrekker Road, following two cases in the past month where women were robbed.
Parow police spokesman Captain Kevin Williams said that in the one case a woman had boarded a taxi that had then gone off route.
“All the commuters in the taxi were then robbed by unknown men.
“In another instance, a woman wanted to enter a taxi but changed her mind. Before the taxi drove off, the ‘gaatjie’ grabbed her cellphone from her hand.”
Captain Williams said the pirate taxis usually operated after 5pm. Commuters should not board taxis that only had a driver and a guard.
Police had noticed a spike in all types of robbery in the area over the past month, he said. Thefts from cars and fraud cases had also climbed.
“I want to urge people not to buy goods off social media platforms such as Gumtree and Facebook,” he said.
“We have found that people put money into these con artists’ bank accounts and later don’t receive the goods they are promised.”
Con artists were using social media to “hoodwink” people. Victims were depositing money into the bank accounts of people they had not vetted.
“We also had cases where the public furnish these con artists with their bank account numbers without verifying their identities or finding out if the company they say they belong to actually exists,” said Captain Williams.
Robberies along Voortrekker Road and near Parow station and Station Road, including the entire Parow CBD, remained a problem.
“I also want to urge motorists to be vigilant when stopping at the robots at McIntyre Road, as there have been a few smash ’* ’ grab cases reported to the station,” he said. Thieves were also targeting students along Connaught Road near Northlink College.
“These incidents can be prevented. Students should not be walking in the street visibly showing their expensive cellphones. These thieves are looking for cellphones and jewellery. They operate between 6am and 4pm.”
He also warned motorists to not give lifts or stop for anyone along Voortrekker Road at night.
“These so-called ‘ladies of the night’ stop a car, under the pretence of asking for a lift, and then two men suddenly appear with guns and force the driver of the car out and speed off with the car.”
Jettas and Toyota Tazzes were being targeted, said Captain Williams.
“These thieves are not targeting newer models of cars. They are looking at cars that they can jump-start.”
There had also been a growing number of thefts-from-vehicle cases reported at the police station.
“People leave valuable items in their cars such as tablets and wallets. I want to urge them to remove these items from full view and rather put them in their car boots.
“They should be parking their cars where there is enough light and they should desist from parking in dark places,” he said.
Roger Cannon, Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman, said the CPF, SAPS, Voortrekker Road Community Improvement District (VRCID) and neighbourhood watches had held joint operations in the CBD over the past two weeks.
“With visible policing, we hoped to keeping the criminal elements out of the area as well as making the public feel safer with their presence. As for the taxis, we have very little control. If vehicles can be identified by the victims, it would help the police keep an eye out for them when they enter the area,” he said
He urged the public to park in their driveways or garages at night, if possible, and not leave valuables in their cars.