Cape Town - Incidents of alleged “chain snatching” by children in Sea Point and surrounding areas have prompted ward councillor Nicola Jowell to caution residents against falling victim.
In a social media post, Jowell said she was in the process of engaging with provincial social services about the children in the area, and the need to have them off the streets and in places of safety.
Jowell did not provide case numbers upon request yesterday for the alleged incidents.
“The street children in the area have been a continue(d) issue, with numbers increasing over the school holidays.
“Law enforcement engaged with various informants in the area to identify the culprits who are alleged to have been involved in two chain-snatching incidents.
“The group were located and taken to the SAPS where two were identified.
“One has been linked to a current open case. The other is linked to an incident earlier, but no case has been opened.
“If you know anyone who was a victim of a chain snatching (on Friday) please ask them to open a case at the SAPS urgently so the person can be linked to this,” she wrote.
The provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) said it was aware of the complaints against minors in Sea Point, however, it could not confirm that the street children were directly related to the chain-snatching incidents.
“There has been an increase of aggressive begging in the area.
“The department is providing ongoing services to children on the street.
“Most of the children we have assessed are from Kraaifontein and Kalksteenfontein.
“Metro Police has been assisting the department.”
The department said depending on the outcomes of the assessments, children were offered therapeutic services.
“Once information is gathered from the children, social workers are able to conduct home assessments to implement appropriate interventions.
“If children younger than 18 are arrested, the Child Justice Act makes provision for the procedures to be followed by the SAPS, the NPA and Social Development,” said the department.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said they relied on the public to report matters for investigation.
“The SAPS can only lodge an investigation once cases have been reported to them for further investigation. We appeal to victims of such incidents where children are involved to report such matters.”
The City referred requests for comment to the SAPS and DSD.