The Lynfrae community is on high alert after experiencing a spike in burglary and attempted burglaries in the area.
During the latest incident, Lynfrae resident Richard Smith was viciously attacked by intruders in his home on Monday June 19, sustaining screwdriver stab wounds to the back of the head.
Despite Mr Smith recovering well from his injuries in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Life Vincent Pallotti Hospital, the attack on the Bishops First XV rugby coach has left a rippling effect of worry behind in the Lynfrae community.
Har-Lyn Neighbourhood Watch chairman, Derek Bluck, confirmed that the area was currently experiencing a spike in certain types of crimes, mainly burglaries, in the Lynfrae, Harfield Village and Claremont areas.
“It is difficult to pinpoint this (reason for the spike) but it is normal to have an increase in crime during the winter months.
Other theories are that Kenilworth Centre has improved its security, thus diverting crime to the suburbs. Our political situation with people out of work can also be contributing factors,” Mr Bluck said.
The neighbourhood watch has since increased patrols in the affected areas and concentrated on times identified by police as peak crime periods.
“We are very concerned at the moment, but we are taking steps to improve the area’s security,” Mr Bluck said, who also said that during patrols, it was discovered that many households have “inadequate security measures”.
“The feeling is that criminals must think that they are in paradise when they enter our area. The number one priority is to concentrate on your household security,” he said.
Claremont resident Odette Frieslaar came home to find her house burgled earlier this year.
“The feeling at the moment is that people cannot even lock themselves behind closed doors as these criminals are so desperate, they will do anything to get inside your house.”
“The residents are living in fear and despite security forces doing all they can, I think the residents must consider beefing up their own security and working together with police and neighbourhood watches,” Ms Frieslaar said.
She applauded the efforts of the Har-Lyn Neighbourhood Watch, saying that due to their visibility and operations, many more crimes were prevented.
Thomas Ackerman from Lynfrae called the attack on Mr Smith, “ruthless”.
“Times are extremely tough at the moment and it seems like the more the cost of living increases, the more desperate people become. I have experienced an incident of this nature before, but I have certainly heard of many residents experiencing such traumatising scenes.
“Coming home to a house that has been burgled is bad enough. I can only but imagine how one must feel being inside of it while it is being burgled.”
Although Mr Ackerman did not feel the idea would be feasible, he suggested that gating off the areas to properly monitor and manage access was something to consider.
“It’s very tough to come up with ideas to tackle such a problem, because the criminals of today are so advanced that if this should be introduced, it would give off a sense that we have something to protect and guard. They would then just work out another way to enter the community and this would make these criminals more hungry and probably more desperate,” he said.
Mr Bluck urged the communities to join community WhatsApp, Facebook groups, join Har-Lyn Neighbourhood Watch by calling 071 802 2454 and to become well acquainted with neighbours as they are often the first to notice and to respond to crime.
To report suspicious behaviour and crimes, call SAPS on 10111, HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch 24-hour line on 071 802 2454, 107 from Telkom line or the City of Cape Town’s Emergency number, 112 from a mobile phone.
Har-Lyn Neighbourhood Watch suggest the following safety tips to guard your home:
Stop the false alarms that the armed response companies have to deal with daily. Up to 99.9% of call-outs to armed response false alarms.
Get a dog.
High walls that prevent anyone from looking into the home should be replaced by walls with railings.
Improve the security on your front gate.
Remove any tree branches that hang over walls.
Close your curtains at night.
Don’t leave your dustbin out at night.
Get to know your neighbours.
Claremont police had not responded at the time of print.