Goodwood residents on edge after supermarket owners held hostage in botched robbery
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Cape Town - Goodwood residents who witnessed a botched business robbery in their area are on edge after the suspects resorted to taking hostages when their attempt at robbing a supermarket was foiled by an alarm.
The hostage situation was said to have been the first of its kind in the community, recently plagued by a spate of business robberies.
Goodwood NHW chairperson Leona van Wyk said: “Residents in the area are still tense following that incident. We have had quite a few business robberies in Goodwood, especially along the Voortrekker Road corridor, but none have ever turned into hostage situations, it’s alarming.”
The Goodwood NHW is one of the community safety structures that patrol in the area to safeguard the interests of residents and businesses and protect infrastructure.
Recalling the events leading up to the incident, Van Wyk said: “It was just after 8am when messages started coming in about the robbery in progress. I remember because we only had one patrol car out at the time, and he had just pulled up to the store when he called in to alert the police and other role-players.”
“I must say residents have been up in arms about these types of incidents taking place in our community for a while now.
“Goodwood is deteriorating, and the influx of people into the area is not helping. However, we are glad that police managed to arrest the suspects and safely rescue the business owners who were held hostage,” Van Wyk said.
Police spokesperson André Traut confirmed the arrests, announcing that two suspects had been apprehended in connection with the robbery.
Traut said: “The vigilance of the public and the swift response by police supported by the Special Task Force led to the arrest of two suspects on a charge of business robbery in Goodwood. At around 8.20am, the armed suspects held the owners of a shop situated in Voortrekker Road at gunpoint.”
Goodwood CPF spokesperson Jas Visser said: “According to our knowledge, business robberies in the area had declined in recent months. The current situation regarding the court interdict against the City was enabling criminals to move freely. Without fear of law enforcement, petty crime has become rife.
“Until the shortage of police officers in the Western Cape is addressed by the national government, there is little that can be done. The vagrancy issue also needs to be addressed as criminals use this as a cover,” Visser said.
The Goodwood Residents Ratepayers Association said while the robbery was an opportunistic crime, criminals who scout the area had brazenly orchestrated the robbery when they saw the police’s inadequate visible policing.
Chairperson Faizel Pietersen said: “We need better policing and more resources directed at making our communities safer. For example, SAPS launched the ‘Community in Blue’ initiative, which encourages closer working relations between police, local law enforcement and community safety structures.
“However, our policing precinct has not launched this in our area. Why not, when we need something like that? Our NHW groups and area-based armed response companies are ready and eager to assist the SAPS.”