Surge in robberies at Potsdam Road

Potsdam Road is a hot spot for robberies and thefts from cars, police told a community police forum meeting in Table View last week.

There were no more than 15 residents at the meeting, including members of the Table View Community Police Forum and the Table View Neighbourhood Watch.

Warrant Officer Riaan Prins, of Table View police, also said murders in Site 5 (Doornbach) had risen by 200% in the last month, but he would not give the numerical change.

“Our biggest concern and problem area are the corners of Potsdam and Blaauwberg roads, and this is because of all the robberies that take place there. People who are at the robots often have their windows open and some keep their valuables on the passenger seat in clear view of would-be robbers,” he said.

In an earlier statement to the media, Table View SAPS spokeswoman, Captain Adriana Chandler, had also warned about a spike in robberies near the intersection of Potsdam and Blaauwberg roads.

There had been three such incidents there – during the mid-afternoon – earlier this month, she said.

“During September and October, police increased visibility and held numerous operations there during morning peak-hour times, when an increase started to be evident, and robberies decreased. It appears that the robbers are now changing the time of day for these robberies, which changed to afternoons.”

According to Captain Chandler and Warrant Officer Prins, the robbers, armed with guns and knives, threaten motorists driving with open car windows and unlocked doors.

Day or night, motorists should stay alert at intersections, said Captain Chandler.

“Avoid talking on the cellphone when driving or stationary and to remove valuables from sight and to lock doors.”

Warrant Officer Prins said that people should not resist or try to fight off robbers.

CPF member Anthony Bantich said police were understaffed so it was important for homeowners to take whatever measures they could to secure their properties.

“We have a police-to-residents ratio of 1 to 1 000 in Table View. The police, CPF and neighbourhood watches are trying the best that they can but can’t fight all the battles. We are in the process now of demanding from government that Table View get more officers,” he said.

CPF member Rene Butzer advised residents to let trusted neighbours know if they were going away for the holidays.

“Ask someone to take your bin inside and outside because criminals use these to gain access to other people’s yards.

“Ask your neighbours to take your mail out of your postbox so that criminals don’t know that your house is vacant,” he said.

Residents could also put timers on their lights and should let their security firms know they would be out of town.“Table View SAPS also has a register where people can put their names down which will help SAPS members doing patrols when suspicious behaviour happens on their properties,” he said.

This was Table View CPF Sector 3’s last public meeting of the year and Warrant Officer Prins wished everyone a safe festive season.