A recent robbery at the Starke Ayres store in Rosebank was a tell-tale sign that the busy festive season is around the corner, say police.
Six armed men entered the store last week, destroyed the cameras, held up the staff, cleaned out the cash registers and raided the cash office, before fleeing the scene with an unknown sum of money.
Mowbray police station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mayla Dyers, said they had seen a spike in their robbery stats in recent weeks.
Mowbray, one of the main transport hubs, had seen a spate of robberies, mainly near Durban, Victoria, Station and Main roads.
“Our area is already vulnerable and during the festive season, it becomes even more vulnerable and we can only urge the public to be on the lookout and be more vigilant during this time,” she said.
With exams having been delayed, Lieutenant Colonel Dyers also feared that students might become soft targets.
“The students must stop displaying all their valuables for everybody to see. They make themselves soft targets by walking around showing everybody their valuables.
“Mowbray police are running more patrols, stop-and-searches and vehicle check points to counter the rising number of crimes.
“Some of the criminals blend in very well with the students, so it is very important for our police officers to carry out these operations in order to catch out these criminals. We always have to be one step ahead of the criminal,” Lieutenant Colonel Dyers said.
Another problem, she said, were roadside stalls selling illegal merchandise and sometimes even drugs.
“So law enforcement comes out and inspects these stalls, often handing out fines and also discovering drugs. It makes our job so much easier when there are people working with us, instead of against us.”
She encouraged people going away for the holidays to register their homes at the station so police could keep an eye on the empty property.