Smash and grab incidents in Cape Town on the rise

These are CCTV footage screenshots of smash and grabbers. Picture: File

These are CCTV footage screenshots of smash and grabbers. Picture: File

Published Jan 25, 2024


Cape Town - Motorists are warned to be vigilant because smash-and-grab cases in Cape Town have increased, with more than 30 incidents recorded in just one month.

The metro police strategic surveillance unit recorded 36 positive smash and grab incidents along Jakes Gerwel Drive in November and December, up from 22 during the same period the previous year.

Safety and security boss JP Smith said CCTV footage also detected 100 instances where individuals appeared to be “casing out” potential targets, compared with 41 in 2022.

The intersections along Jakes Gerwel Drive remain hot spots for smash-and-grab incidents, he said.

“During November and December last year, 36 incidents were recorded. The metro police’s strategic surveillance unit also recorded a surge in incidents where would-be thieves would scout for opportunities.

“The statistics show a continued need for extreme vigilance and locking away valuables, but some motorists have yet to do their bit.

“While the City of Cape Town’s metro police department continues with awareness drives, the motoring public have yet to do their part.”

Smith said that the increase in the number of proverbial “window shopping” incidents was of interest.

“We know that smash-and-grabs are crimes of opportunity, and the statistics suggest that smash and grab criminals are not letting up.

“It does also suggest, however, that the opportunities are decreasing, likely as more road users are implementing the safety guidelines, about hiding valuables.

“That said, there are still some who neglect to take the necessary measures. During a recent awareness drive, by our metro police department, officers found many drivers and passengers openly displaying their valuables. Some even had their bags or phones on their laps.

“Even more disconcerting is when this was pointed out to them, officers were told not to concern themselves with the valuables of others.

“We want to halt a crime that deprives people of their hard-earned and prized possessions; and spare them the trauma of being victims. There is only so much we can do and motorists should do what they can to ensure their own safety.”

Smith said that their officers would continue to patrol the hot spots, but “I want to remind motorists that our uniformed staff cannot be everywhere at once”.

Earlier this month, a senior police officer stationed at the Manenberg police station was the victim of a smash-and-grab incident at Jakes Gerwel Drive, with the officer’s pistol reportedly stolen.

Smash-and-grab incidents can be reported to the nearest police station or the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.

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