Criminals use broken railway fence to flee

The railway fence in Harrow Road, Rondebosch.

There’s been a spike in burglaries and robberies in a Rondebosch neighbourhood and the culprits are exploiting gaps and bushes along a railway fence
to make a quick getaway, say residents.

According to Rondebosch police spokesperson Warrant Officer Lyndon Sisam, there have been three muggings, four burglaries, three vehicle thefts and six thefts from vehicles in Harrow Road in the past year.

The metre-high fence on Harrow Road, between Dulwich and Kelvin roads, is screened by bushes and riddled with holes.

Harrow Road resident Declan Butler said his home had been burgled twice in three weeks – cases confirmed by the police.

Shortly before 7am on Wednesday May 22, an intruder smashed his burglar bars and took a bicycle and other items.

“At first I didn’t know what the noise was as I had just woken up and eventually went to find the intruder leaving the house with items,” he said. Then, on Friday June 7, Mr Butler returned from work in time to see an intruder leaving in a car with his TV and suitcases holding his possessions.

His home’s front window had been removed.

Mr Butler, a member of the Harrow Road WhatsApp group, said he frequently saw people climbing over the fence or going through holes
in it to cross the railway tracks to
get from Harrow Road to White Road.

Ward Councillor Ian Iversen said he had written to Metrorail asking when the fence would be fixed but he hadn’t had a response.

Metrorail spokeswoman Riana Scott said the parastatal repaired and replaced fencing as budgets allowed and those affected would be kept informed.

“Due to the hundreds of kilometres of railway and resources available, replacement and repair of fencing is prioritised,” she said.

Ms Scott advised residents to secure their homes and report all crimes near the railways as that helped Metrorail map hot spots that needed extra attention.

Warrant Officer Sisam said the corner of Harrow and Kelvin roads was a risky area and having the fence repaired would help to prevent crime.

Mr Iversen said Metrorail should cut back bushes on its property along White Road as it provided cover for criminals.