Crime spike concerns cops

JOHN HARVEY

A Claremont man narrowly escaped with his life after being shot by three armed men in the driveway of his home on Monday night, April 25.

The shooting comes as private security firms that patrol Claremont and Kenilworth are reporting a spike in crime in the past month.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said that at about 6.45pm on Monday, the 62-year-old man drove into the driveway of his St Dennis Road home.

When he went to close the gate, three men approached him. One pointed a gun at him and demanded money.

“Shots were fired, and the victim was struck in the head by a bullet,” said Captain Van Wyk.

The men fled on foot, and Mr Van Wyk was taken to hospital. His condition was unknown at the time of going to press. Police are investigating an attempted murder case.

Derek Bluck, the chairman of the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch, which patrols Harfield Village, Lynfrae, Belvedere, Clare Park and Claremont Village, said Mr Van Wyk had tried to fight off the men when the shot went off, grazing the side of his head. Security patrolmen and neighbourhood watch volunteers spent the best part of three hours searching for the men, but to no avail.

ADT and Princeton Armed Response officers were also on the scene.

Mr Bluck said Lynfrae had been particularly hard hit by house robberies in the past week. “We have had nine so far in the space of a week. It really is out of control at the moment. We normally don’t have so many break-ins at this time of year either.

“It looks like it could be crowbar gangs responsible for these robberies. The only thing we can do is work together with the security companies and police to protect people and their homes. What is good is that the community is very keen to assist. At the moment, we are getting one person a day wanting to join our neighbourhood watch.

“I think what many people don’t realise is that it is no good simply building higher walls and installing electric fencing. You also have to make sure your front door is heavily secured. These guys can literally smash through it and be in and out in five minutes.”

Mr Bluck said every effort was being made to shore up security in the area. “Recently we have held a series of meetings to discuss the implentation of CCTV cameras to monitor crime.”

ADT district manager Jade Hanning said his company was receiving more call-outs for house robberies, attempted house robberies, and theft in the southern suburbs.

Princeton director Shelley Smith said that in her five years in Claremont and Kenilworth security she had never experienced such a bad crime wave.