Theft out of vehicles a concern


The Newlands Forest parking lot has been flagged as a crime hotspot. SANParks says these parking areas does not fall under its jurisdiction. PHOTO: Nettalie Viljoen

With out of motor vehicle (MV) theft still the dominant crime type reported in Claremont, police have asked the public to be extra vigilant when it comes to parking and locking their cars, and, most importantly, not to leave any items inside.

According to Lt Col Marnus Fourie, Claremont Vispol commander, the Claremont precinct has seen a 50% decrease in theft out of motor vehicle figures over the past decade, with particularly low and stable figures for the past two financial years. However, Fourie states, although a marginal year-on-year increase from 2020-’2021 to 2021-’2022 was recorded (only a 20-case difference), the spike in the second half of last year is concerning.

Fourie says there are two types of theft out of motor vehicle: opportunistic and organised.

In March, People’s Post reported that the influx of street people in Claremont these past two years had been linked to an increase in crime in the area, with Claremont police urging residents to adopt responsible giving.

A media statement released by the Claremont police and Claremont Community Policing Forum (CPF) earlier this month stated that the relaxation in lockdown regulations, together with the advent of the warmer summer months, saw a further rise in the number of street people living in the suburb. This, the statement said, had led to an increase in pedestrian activity on Claremont’s streets.

Fourie says “a staggering number” of homeless people and bin pickers are opportunistic criminals who have been positively linked to some of the cases.

“Theft out of motor vehicle and street robbery are the most prevalent crimes referred to, but the problem extends beyond that. With (homelessness) comes drug and alcohol abuse, making behaviour volatile and unpredictable,” says Fourie.

Jane Chamberlin, spokesperson for the Claremont CPF, says while it must be acknowledged that the City of Cape Town is working hard to address homelessness, provide social support and restore public spaces across the city, residents supporting door-to-door charity are attracting hundreds of people to Claremont.

“This ‘generosity’ in Claremont is soliciting an inpouring of (homeless), opportunists and gang members from Manenberg, Hanover Park, Mitchell’s Plain, Muizenberg and other areas. Claremont police have confirmed that most crime in Claremont can be directly attributed to (homeless people),” says Chamberlin.

Claremont police and Claremont CPF ask residents to follow these tips:

  • Do not leave any belongings whatsoever in unattended motor vehicles parked in the street. Ensure that visitors, contractors and neighbours are always cautioned.
  • When locking your vehicle using a remote control, consistently make sure the doors are properly locked before you leave. If you don’t hear the “beep” or the locks “clicking down”, go and check. Be extra vigilant around schools, shops and busy streets.
  • Do not donate any food, money or clothing to street people.
  • Support formal charitable organisations only.

“It is only our collective effort that will stop these crimes from escalating to more serious – and potentially dangerous – levels,” says Chamberlin.


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