Robbers ‘nest’ at De La Rey

Skollies” are nesting under the De La Rey bridge – also used as an escape route once they’ve robbed passing commuters, a meeting of the Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) has heard.

One resident said from her flat, which overlooked Tygerberg station, she could see criminals getting up to no good every day.

“In winter it is dark at Tygerberg station. They kick the light out at the stairs so that it’s pitch dark and they can rob the people,” the woman said.

CPF chairman Roger Cannon said damage to the lights on the pedestrian bridge was a Prasa issue, while the City’s Law Enforcement was aware of criminals under the De La Rey bridge.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said robberies must be reported to SAPS as this influenced deployment of joint resources, discussed during weekly meetings with the Rapid Rail Police Unit.

“Police/security is not able to be everywhere at once – instead they are posted according to predetermined priority areas,” Ms Scott said.

Ms Scott said the De La Rey bridge belonged to the City of Cape Town and improvement there would have to be a joint effort.

“Improvements will need to be collaborative as there is a street to street bridge (CoCT asset) and vagrancy or loitering in the area which adds to opportunity of petty theft,” she said.

Ms Scott said she had reported the lighting problem to their facilities department.
Parow SAPS spokesman Captain Kevin Williams said Tygerberg station was a hot spot for street robberies which happened in the early morning and late at night.

He said robbers targeted people for cellphones, jewellery and money and advised people should to walk in groups of two or more people.

“Do not openly display valuables when walking to or from Tygerberg railway station. When confronted with a knife or a gun, do not resist, but release property because your life is more valuable,” he said.
Parow SAPS was mobilising neighbourhood watch members to patrol the area and police officers would also do foot patrols there, he said.

In a post on the Western Cape Gangwatch Facebook page on Friday June 30, a member reported that “people are stealing the fencing here at Tygerberg station”and that it would be sold for scrap.

Adiel Albertyn from the Klipkop Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) said there is no visible security from Prasa at the station, and holes in the fence made it easy for criminals to get away.

He also said the lights at the station is broken, which “puts pedestrians at risk crossing the bridge”.

Mr Albertyn said people walking along the railway line from Tygerberg station to the hospital put themselves at risk.

He said Law Enforcement had removed squatters living under the bridge several times, “but they keep on returning”.

The Klipkop NHW patrolled during peak times, but Mr Albertyn said members worked, and so could not be there all the time.

“We do request that the community post suspicious activities on the Crime Alert Group as this allows NHW members still in the area to respond and assist,” he said.

Wayne Dyason, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement, said they’re not aware of criminal activity in the area “as we have not received any complaints of this nature”.

But said Mr Dyason, they have received complaints about the anti-social behaviour of the homeless and the area has been listed as a hotspot.

“The City’s Law Enforcement and Social Development Departments conduct operations in the area to offer assistance to street people and enforce the City’s by-laws.

“All criminal activity should be reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS).

“Law Enforcement will deal with this type of activity should it occur in their presence,” he said.

l Metrorail said complaints should be lodged either in person to the station/area manager or via email to ctcomplaints@metrorail.co.za