While crime has gone up in some parts of Milnerton, confidence in the police has gone down, according to residents and civic groups.
The Summer Greens Neighbourhood Watch (SGNW) says that in the past two months, crime has been on the increase.
According to the watch’s chairman, Reagan Croeser, burglaries, car thefts, robberies and other crimes have been on the rise and the country moving to alert level 1 lockdown could have something to do with it.
He also said their relationship with Milnerton SAPS had deteriorated.
“We get complaints from our residents that SAPS doesn’t help them when they try to report cases. Even with that going on, we always try to encourage people to report because this will help SAPS with the statistics they need.
“However, we as the watch aren’t getting a lot of assistance from them. It takes them a while to attend to crimes in the neighbourhood. We attend all the crime scenes and people’s complaints, but, remember, we aren’t the police so we can’t do much without their help.”
Summer Greens resident Abdul Gakeem’s car was stolen from his driveway last month while he and his family were asleep.
“I’ve noticed that criminals come out to play between midnight and 3am. That night, I woke up around 2.50am. I walked around the house and looked outside and saw that our car had been stolen. The car has a tracker so I ran to check the app on my phone, and I could see that the car had been moved from our driveway at 1.55am. I contacted the tracking company and by 3.15am, the car had been recovered in Heideveld and one person was arrested.”
He had gone to Milnerton police station the next day to open a case but there had been no-one behind the charge office desk for at least 15 minutes, he said.
“After waiting that long, I had to shout over the counter to get some assistance, and only then was I able to open a case. I still have not received any further communication from SAPS since that day.”
Lulama Xolimbila, also from Summer Greens, said he had tried to report the theft of his bicycle at Milnerton, but the police had refused to open a case when he had been unable to tell them who had stolen it.
“On August 8, my bicycle was stolen out of my garage. I went to report the case and I was told by the police at reception that because I didn’t have a name of the suspect that stole the bike, I can’t open the case. I found this to be odd because how would I know the suspect’s name. All I wanted was to open a case or at least have proof that a complaint was laid about the stolen bike. A week later, on August 15, my 8-year-old son was playing outside on his bike and someone took it from him and stole it. Again, I went to the police and was told the same thing about not having the suspect’s name. To this day, I haven’t been able to get help about my stolen property. I don’t know what to do now.”
Another Summer Greens resident, who did not want to be named, claimed Milnerton police had tried to get him to withdraw a theft case after they had recovered his stolen property.
“I suspect they don’t want to do all the paperwork. I think they are lazy in that place,” he said.
Milnerton Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Mark Lindsell said crime was up across Milnerton, especially common robberies and theft out of cars.
“In these kinds of cases, residents themselves can do a lot to curb the crimes. Being careful of your surroundings is important and in some neighbourhoods, don’t flash your phone or jewellery. Never leave things of value in your car, and people always need to make sure that their houses are secure at night and when they aren’t home. I’d like to stress that people must always report any crimes. This is vital because it’s an indicator to SAPS about how much resources are needed in certain areas,” said Mr Lindsell.
Milnerton police spokeswoman Captain Nopaya Madyibi did not respond to our questions about the residents’ allegations of poor service. She said the station was “not at liberty” to provide Tabletalk with recent crime statistics for the Milnerton area.