Pick-pocketing out of control

A daily Metrorail commuter was left shocked after witnessing four pick-pocketing incidents in as many weeks on the 5.55am train from the Kuils River station.

The commuter, who wished to remain anonymous as the early commute passengers are few and known to one another, fears it’s only a matter of time before the thieves get to her.

The woman is not sure if the same two men are involved in all the incidents, but she has noticed that the thieves have always been “dressed nicely” and using the same modus operandi by causing a commotion when passengers board the train.

“It might have been happening for a very long time, but we have started to notice the pattern recently,” said the commuter.

“It looks like they are targeting males mostly as they often just put their cellphones in their jeans pocket.”

She said the pickpockets “do not look like your everyday thief”.

She said she had never seen security guards on the platforms.

Kuils River station commander Colonel Pieter Gallant said a married couple had reported being robbed at the station recently.

“There have been a number of cases of pickpocketing or robberies at the station or its vicinity,” he said.

Colonel Gallant said five incidents of cellphone theft and robberies at the station had been reported to the police in the last month.
Riana Scott, Metrorail spokeswoman, stressed the importance of reporting all incidents to the police.
She said more than 650 trains a week were searched for drugs, weapons and stolen property, and there had been about 14 arrests a week for petty crime on trains and at stations.

Ms Scott said there were undercover policemen on the trains and they were deployed according to “priorities determined at joint weekly meetings between Metrorail Protection Services and the police”.

She said reporting crime was vital, because they relied on statistics to guide deployments.

“If it isn’t reported, it does not form part of official statistics,” she said.