As many as 30 cars have been stolen while parked on Duxbury Road this year.
Tegan Carpenter-Kling, a BSc Zoology honours student, told Perdeby that her car was stolen in July. Her Toyota Yaris was parked outside the Unicrest apartment building opposite the Brooklyn Police Station when it was stolen.
When Carpenter-Kling went to the police, she was reportedly told that 30 cases of car theft from Duxbury Road had been opened at the Brooklyn Police Station since January. Warrant Officer Annabel Middleton of the Brooklyn Police Station said that she could not release the exact figures and would not comment on the number of cars that have been stolen from areas immediately surrounding the police station. Another officer, Marinda Swanepoel, could not release any figures either and declined to comment on whether car theft was a problem in the Hatfield area.
Security guards from Thompson Security Group, the company which manages security at Unicrest, said that they were not aware of any car thefts. They added that Unicrest could not be held liable for any cars stolen from outside the building as owners park there at their own risk.
The threat of car theft extends all around campus. Thomas Hikins, a BCom Supply Chain Management first-year, told Perdeby that two of his friends had their cars stolen between April and May this year. Both cars were stolen from Roper Street near the university’s Lynnwood Road entrance.
SRC member in charge of Safety and Security Pierre Cloete acknowledged the issue of car theft. However, he said that “the problem is handled by the top management [level] of Security Services. As such, any information is confidential.”
Cloete told Perdeby that he is working on a proposal to improve security directly outside of Hatfield campus. He advised students to try park outside the ladies’ residences as university security guards are present on these streets.
An owner of a pub in Hatfield Square, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed that cars have been stolen from the Square’s basement parking. Four cars have been stolen from the secure parking area since the beginning of this year.
In contrast to the above statements, Danie Basson, Chief Operating Officer of the Hatfield City Improvement District (CID), said that SAPS confirmed to him that there had been a decline in the number of vehicles stolen from around the university’s Hatfield campus in the last year. Basson attributed this to the presence of CID and UP security guards. He said that the guards “regularly prevent vehicles from being stolen. When this does not happen, we are more often than not [there] in time to arrest would-be vehicle thieves.”
According to information published on the South African Police Service’s website, 889 cases of car theft were opened at the Brooklyn station in 2011. The website also stated that last year, 100 less cars were stolen than in 2010. Statistics for this year have not yet been released.
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Photo: Marius Veldhuyzen van Zanten