Crime in Oakdale, particularly the lower part, remains a worry for the Bellville police who are battling a spike in house break-ins and thefts from cars in the area.
When Sector 1 commander Lieutenant George Havenga spoke to residents at Oakdale Watch’s (OW) meeting on Thursday February 9, the news wasn’t good: January had been a bad month with nine house break-ins alone in the lower part of Oakdale.
“It is usually about four per month,” he said.
A third of Bellville’s crime, warned Lieutenant Havenga, was now happening in Sector 1 – which is made up of Oakdale, along with the CBD and parts of Boston – and Oakdale, itself, accounted for some 13 percent of that crime.
OW chairman Tommy Milakovic said Teddington Street and surrounding roads remained a rich hunting ground for thieves, as people going to the SA Revenue Service often parked their cars in the streets.
“There is always theft out of motor vehicles happening there. From stealing batteries to taking a windscreen wiper off to resell,” he said.
Just last week, the police warned of an increase in thefts from vehicles in the lower parts of Oakdale and the CBD (“Car thefts spike, cops say,” Northern News Thursday February 9).
Bellville police spokeswoman Henrietta van Niekerk said motorists were still leaving their valuables in plain sight.
Boston Neighbourhood Watch chairman Stephan Fourie said they had seen a surge in crime before Christmas but January had been relatively quiet.
He said 90 percent of the crime in Boston was theft from cars and opportunistic petty theft.
“The thefts out of motor vehicles occur mainly during the night, with owners leaving valuables in plain sight,” he said.
Vlei Park is also a problem area. Drug users go there to shoot up and burglars hide there to case nearby homes, according to Mr Milakovic.
Recently, OW started joint operations with Bellville police, the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District and Boston Neighbourhood Watch, and it plans to do more throughout the year, targeting hot spots in Bellville.
Robberies and thefts from cars are the most common crimes in the area, according to Lieutenant Havenga, and the perpetrators aren’t organised gangs but opportunists finding their way into the suburb from the CBD, which is just on the other side of Voortrekker Road.
“These are people that are walking around in the area, looking for small stuff. They will turn the houses upside down, while organised crime groups, come in, take items such as flat-screen TVs and leave.”
Mr Milakovic said OW needed more recruits because it couldn’t carry on patrolling the way it had been with just 20 active members.
He said while he was grateful for the Eyes and Ears WhatsApp group it wasn’t enough: they needed more people who could patrol, especially during the day.
“Our current patrollers can’t continue patrolling the way they have, its tough as we are using our own money for petrol and sacrificing most of our free time,” he said.