Alert neighbourhood watch members from the Umzimbeet Neighbourhood Watch in Westville arrested a man for theft out of a motorvehicle. Picture by Mobi-Claw911
Alert neighbourhood watch members from the Umzimbeet Neighbourhood Watch in Westville arrested a man for theft out of a motorvehicle. Picture by Mobi-Claw911

Car owners urged to be aware as car theft spikes in Durban suburbs

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Jul 14, 2020

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Durban - Theft of motor vehicles continue to spike under level 3 of the Covid19 lockdown, Mobi-Claw911 spokesperson Mike Myers said after the neighbourhood watch in Westville made an outstanding arrest for theft out of motor vehicle on Saturday. 

Alert neighbourhood watch members from the Umzimbeet Neighbourhood Watch in Westville responded to the panic alert on Mobi-Claw911. 

Myers said brave neighbourhood watch members tracked the suspect down. The suspect resisted arrest and the neighbourhood watch member had to use the necessary force to effect the citizen arrest.

Other neighbourhood watch members and a local security company rushed to the scene of the arrest where the suspect’s hands and feet were cuffed.

"This incident was not without its challenges with the Westville police station being closed. Police are working from a temporary facility with minimal members due to a positive Covid-19 outbreak at the station. An off duty policeman that lives in the area noticed the issue and attended the scene to assist. Durban Metro police also attended the scene to ensure the suspect was under control until SAPS arrived," he said. 

"Under these very challenging conditions we must commend the neighbourhood watch members for their bravery in effecting the arrest. A huge thank you also to the off duty policeman that attended and the captain from Pinetown that came to assist, well done to you all," he added. 

Myers said the suspect has been linked to two other cases. 

In a separate incident a vehicle, which had been reported stolen in Berea, in January, was recovered in Pinetown on Thursday. A Blue Security Pinetown Tactical Team member reacted swiftly after reports were relayed of the missing vehicle being observed driving through Gillitts. Blue Security stated that after a further search on Wednesday night proved fruitless they were lucky in spotting it again on Thursday morning driving through the Westmead/Stockville suburb. The car was successfully followed to a business in the area. 

The vehicle was then escorted back to the driver's business premises to locate the documents confirming proof of ownership. Blue security stated that when no such paperwork could be produced, the vehicle was removed and impounded by Pinetown SAPS. It has been transferred to Isipingo pound while further investigations continue. Pinetown SAPS are investigating. 

Three vehicles were stolen from a dealership in Scottburgh on Wednesday at 3am.  A Toyota Hilux double cab 2.8 and two Toyota HIace SesFikile 2.5D. Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the complainant alleged he was performing his duties at a business premises in Scottburgh as a security supervisor when he noticed two of his guards were not on site. 

"Upon investigating he discovered that two of his company vehicles were stolen. The whereabouts of the security guards is still unknown. Charges of robbery and kidnapping were opened at Scottburgh police station for investigation," Mbele said. 

Tracker SA Executive: Operational Services Ron Knott-Craig said they had noted that activation levels increased significantly in May and June. 

"Recovery activities in June were some 9% less than activations in March (prior to lockdown), indicating that we are well on our way to “normal” levels of vehicle crime related activities. During the first eight days of July we have noted that recovery activities are at the same level as what they were prior to lockdown," he said. 

Knott-Craig said hijacking had increased significantly and was now at a much higher percentage of total recovery activities compared to theft.

In June the split between hijacking and theft was 59% vs 41%, respectively, up from approximately 50%/50% in the previous months. 

"This is a concern to us due to the trauma associated with a hijacking and the potential impact on our customers. It is a fact that some vehicles are taken, whether it be via theft or hijacking, with the intention of taking them into neighbouring countries. We are also aware that there are syndicates that strip high end luxury vehicles for parts which are then shipped to foreign destinations," Knott-Craig said. 

Since the introduction of the lockdown, Tracker has noticed fewer vehicles in KZN are being taken into neighbouring countries. However, the vehicles that are being taken into neighbouring countries via KZN are vehicles stolen or hijacked in Gauteng. 

"Tracker has taken special measures to intercept these vehicles and arrest their drivers. Crime trends noted by Tracker include a noticeable increase in vehicles being targeted for their loads, particularly food items and fast-moving consumable goods. Clients are also being robbed of their valuables and in some instance’s large amounts of cash," he said.

Daily News 

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