The police and a security company have warned motorists to be vigilant when stopping at traffic lights, especially near Racecourse Road.
For the past few weeks there have been a group of young boys who have been hanging around the traffic lights near Paddocks Mall.
Milnerton residents say that these boys, of a group of around five, hang around on the corner of Racecourse Road and the R27.
According to Royal Ascot resident, Shirley Summers, two weeks ago while she was on her way home from Cape Town, the group, appearing to be begging for money or food, surrounded a car at the traffic lights.
“But it looked way too suspicious because I could see some of them just peering into the back seat. To me, it seemed as if they were up to no good. While they act like they’re begging, the others were going to try to snatch something from the car. I wonder where these kids’ parents are. Do their parents even know where they are?” she said.
A Milnerton resident, Joshua Kemp, says that he saw a smash-and-grab attempt on a young woman there last week.
“It happened so quick, I don’t think anyone had time to react. One moment I was waiting at the robots and four boys approached a car that was three cars away from mine. Next thing I knew, the boys were running towards the open field near the mall. They then disappeared into Royal Ascot,” he said.
Mr Kemp said that nothing was taken from the woman’s car but she was visibly shaken up.
Sharon McKenzie, also a Milnerton resident, said police were not helping in these matters because the group of kids has been allowed to hang around there for weeks now.
“Our SAPS is just useless. I’m sure they must have heard about these incidents there but still turn a blind eye. Does someone need to be seriously injured for them to start following up? We don’t feel safe in our own neighbourhood anymore. It’s scary,” she said.
According to the patrol co-ordinator for Milnerton Crime Watch, Craig Pedersen, they have noted a number of complaints from residents about possible criminal activity in that area but said that he wasn’t aware of any actual cases reported.
“I am concerned that this is possibly happening but not being reported to SAPS. Sadly under-reporting is a growing concern. I completely understand people not wanting to report incidents as they ‘see no point’ however, without that report, SAPS cannot properly analyse the statistics and allocate resources accordingly – it’s a bit of a Catch-22 really,” said Mr Pedersen.
Milnerton SAPS spokeswoman, Captain Nopaya Madyibi, said they are aware of the young boys. “Most of the time they ask for tips or food but we encourage the public not to entertain this kind of behaviour,” she said.
Milnerton SAPS, however, did not respond to questions about any residents reporting smash-and-grab attempts in that vicinity.
Mr Pedersen encouraged residents to be vigilant and not put valuables in visible positions in their cars.
“This is basic travel safety sort of stuff and key to avoiding smash-and-grabs. Similarly we would of course discourage people from using their phones while driving or stopping at traffic lights, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you when stationary and remain alert. As we enter summer, we would also advise that people wind down their windows no more than an inch and where possible rather use the vehicle’s aircon,” he said.