Robberies on the increase

Parow: The Station Road corridor in the Parow CDD area that used to be a triving business hub has now become a drug den and a hot spot for robbery. Picture : Ian Landsberg/ANA
Goodwood and Parow are battling a surge in business robberies and muggings.

Earlier this month, a security company urged business owners and residents to work with security firms and law-enforcement agencies to drive crime out of the area.
Somali business owner Awil Wadhere has a batch of police case numbers from all the robberies he’s reported at both Goodwood and Parow police stations. 

He has run convenience stores in both areas.

“Sonskyn Kafee in Parow was robbed at least eight times since 2014. I sold it two years ago and the people who bought the business were also robbed,” he said.

He now owns Selection Supermarket in Voortrekker Road, Goodwood. 

Most of the stores along Voortrekker Road between Maitland and Parow have been robbed, Mr Wadhere said.
“I was on till duty on three occasions when armed robbers approached me and threatened me with a gun to get money from the till.”

He and his partners now try to work in pairs to avoid being robbed. 

“We also try to close the till earlier so that robbers cannot pounce on us.”

Both his stores had alarm systems, but the robbers always got away with the money before the armed response arrived, he said.

“The first time we were robbed, they stole R21 060 from us, and on the second occasion they made off with R24 000.”

An employee at a Vasco Boulevard takeaway said the Goodwood said the shop had been robbed a month ago. Fearing reprisals, she did not want to be named.

“The men barged into the shop and made off with hundreds of rand in cigarettes. I was working at the back at the shop at the time. I remember feeling very nervous. I feel relatively safe while walking along Voortrekker Road during the day though,” she said.

Parow police station commander at Parow police, Colonel Tebogo Jacobs confirmed both common and armed robberies were on the rise in the community.
“We are trying to increase visibility in the area, especially along Voortrekker Road and the Parow CBD. These criminals steal people’s cellphones while they are stationed at robots and approach people while they are sitting in their cars.”

Colonel Jacobs said police had received a call at 3pm on Sunday June 2, after a man was robbed by two men while sitting in his car close to KFC in Parow. 

“They stole his cellphone and the little money that he had on him. We want people to be vigilant. However, we have made some arrests in a few of the common robbery incidents reported to the station,” he said.

Fidelity ADT district manager Verena Hulme said alarm systems should be tested regularly, and all crime should be reported so police and security firms could spot trends and deploy resources accordingly.
“We launched a specialised vehicle in Parow earlier this month, and we use it to bolster our presence in this suburb along with neighbouring Goodwood. The vehicle is operated by highly-trained armed response officers equipped with a unique skill-set. They are in constant communication with our monitoring centre team who manage alerts from residents, community WhatsApp groups and partnering neighbourhood watches in the suburb,” she said.

“If we stand together, we can drive crime out of the area,” Ms Hulme said.

Elana Jones, who works in Goodwood, said police should be more visible there, especially at night. 

“You can’t walk freely in this area. My husband was robbed in Goodwood in April this year,” she said.

A woman had taken her husband’s cellphone after he had given her a life, she said.

Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Roger Cannon said the issue of crime in the Parow CBD had come up at a police sector meeting on Tuesday May 28.

“Residents should should realise that criminals are becoming more brazen. Residents are frequently robbed in the Parow CBD because it provides criminals with a quick escape route. Refrain from openly displaying your goods, and visit areas that you know are safe,” he said.