Car-battery thefts spike

Car mirrors, wipers, bumpers and lighters are also being stolen as are motorbikes and scooters.

There’s been a spate of car-battery thefts in Woodstock, police have warned.

According to Woodstock police acting station commander Lieutenant Colonel Alroy van der Berg, the battery thefts have been reported in upper and lower Woodstock, Salt River and Observatory.

There’s very little parking in the area and most cars are parked in the road.

“We have picked up this trend and have briefed our officers and are policing accordingly,” he said.

Car mirrors, wipers, bumpers and lighters are also being stolen as are motorbikes and scooters, which Lieutenant Colonel Van der Berg said weren’t being adequately secured in many cases.

“Residents need to make them hard to steal – using a big chain and lock,” he said.

People should also avoid leaving things in their cars, he said.

Police have also seen several burglaries at businesses, many of them still closed during lockdown. Lieutenant Colonel Van der Berg suspects the perpetrators are local because curfew made it hard for people to move from one area to another.

According to the latest crime statistics – a record of reported crime from April 1 last year to March 31 this year – there was an 8.6% drop in Woodstock’s property-related crime, from 1 656 to 1 513 cases and business burglaries were down 42%, from 199 to 116 cases.

Claremont station commander Colonel Maree Louw says she believes the station is making progress after the precinct’s property-related crime dropped 6%, from 1 489 to 1 472 cases and contact crime dropped from 476 to 446 cases.

However, the station was concerned about a 25% increase in street robberies with guns and a 23% increase in robberies with other weapons.

“There has been an influx of homeless people into Claremont from other areas, and we urge residents to be vigilant and to report suspected people in their areas. Some of these people have been released from prison and now stay on the streets of Claremont,” she said.

Pinelands acting station commander Captain Anton van der Berg says they are satisfied with the overall 2.5% decrease in crime in the precinct but concerned about the 17.3% increase in contact crimes, with a 25% increase in robberies.

Most cases happened near the railways, he said.

“We serve five railway stations namely, Pinelands, Ndabeni, Woltemade, Mutual and Thornton. Langa station is also adjacent to our precinct. We made 84 arrests for contact crimes but unfortunately it did not have the desired impact within certain areas.”

The precinct’s sexual offences increased from seven to 12 cases, with rape up from three to seven cases.