Are burglaries becoming an issue in Newcastle and just how safe are Newcastillians?
Newcastle SAPS spokesperson, Captain Jabulani Ncube, has denied rumours that burglaries are on the increase. “It has actually gone down, as compared to the previous financial year during the same period,” he claimed.
Despite the numbers being allegedly less than last year, Captain Ncube admits there have been a few burglaries. While Captain Ncube claims there is a decrease in burglaries, Wayne Els from Votella Security claims they have noticed an increase in burglaries in Riverside Industria. “Residential burglaries haven’t been a major problem, but it is a problem in the industrial area.”
Apparently, burglars have become brazen with their attacks, sometimes targeting the same factory more than once. “They will break-in and steal something. Then come back a week or two later and target the same factory again,” Els emphasised.
The incidents usually take place between 10pm at night and 4am in the morning. While no one has yet been injured, the burglars are apparently armed while breaking into the factories. This comes after Votella Security discovered a firearm at one of the premises that were burgled. The culprit allegedly dropped it during his escape.
“We always warn our guards to be cautious, as you never know if the suspects are still in the building , when we get there, and if they are armed,” Els explained.
Votella Security are not the only ones to notice the surge of burglaries in Riverside Industria. “One to two factories are being broken into almost every week, especially over weekends,” said Alex Liu from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industries. In fact, a family member of Liu has been burgled twice.
While thankful the burglaries have not escalated into armed robbery, Liu said factory owners no longer believed their property was safe. “For example, if a computer is stolen, the value is not important but rather the contents on it.”
This is because the computer systems often held information regarding business dealing and details about the employees.
Liu claims Albert Wessels Drive, Stephenson Road and Marconi Drive are most problematic and have been so for years. “It appears these syndicates have been operating in the industrial area for a couple of years, but does the SAPS catch someone?” he concluded.
Have you been burgled? Do you think enough is being done to minimise burglaries? Let us know in the comments section below.