Parow train station is plagued by crime, and the police have warned people to walk in groups and keep their valuables out of sight.
Lucille Green, of Paarl, is afraid to use Parow station after she was held up at knife-point near there earlier this year.
“While standing in a queue at the taxi rank behind the station, I was approached by a man who put a knife to my stomach and asked for my bracelet and ring,” said the student at Northlink’s Tygerberg campus.
“Nobody did anything to help me, and the guy stopped after some commotion happened near to where I was standing.”
Ms Green said she had seen many people at the station carrying knives.
Parow police spokesman, Captain Kevin Williams, said robberies happened mostly during the rush hours from 5.30am to 7am and in the evening.
He said Goodwood prison had released several prisoners recently and that might have driven up the number of robberies.
A woman who works at a hair salon near the Parow taxi rank said she felt unsafe in the area. She was hesitant about talking to Northern News and only did so on condition that her name wasn’t published.
“I have no other choice but to come here because I have to earn a living. I have seen many people being robbed of their cellphones,” she said.
“These gangsters are also using drugs at the back of the taxi rank.”
An informal trader, who has worked at Parow station for 30 years, said she had lost a lot of business because of crime in the area.
“Commuters would rather get off at Tygerberg station. I have no other source of income; I have to come back here day after day.”
She said robberies in the area had increased ten-fold in the past year.
“It was never this bad, and it is getting worse. Police and government need to urgently address this issue,” she said.
Captain Williams said people should be cautious in the area.
“I want to urge everyone to adhere to security tips. They should keep their valuables hidden at all times. Don’t walk alone and display your valuables openly.”
Last month, Ward 26 councillor Franchesca Walker said that she along with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID), police and various neighbourhood watches had been working together to tackle crime and grime in the area (“Trading plan derailed”, Wednesday October 25).