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Opportunistic criminals target pedestrians and motorists

Opportunistic criminals target pedestrians and motorists
"With police investigations underway, Newcastle Police are encouraging Newcastillians to practise vigilance and caution in town."

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Opportunistic crime is seeing a spike in the area; this follows a spate of robberies in Newcastle and Madadeni, with the perpetrators targeting unsuspecting pedestrians, homeowners, and motorists alike.

The first incident took place on 19 January 2021 on Terminus Street at the Newcastle Taxi Rank. SAPS Corporate Communications and Liaison Officer, Lizzy Arumugam explains, the victim was approached by two men, who robbed her of cash at knifepoint.

Following this incident, Madadeni Detectives are currently investigating a case of robbery with the same modus operandi. The incident took place on 22 January 2021, at 3 pm in Section 6, Madadeni. Arumugam explains, “It is alleged by the complainant, that while she was walking with her friends, they were approached by three men, who threatened them with knives and demanded their phones.”

On 23 January 2021, two men robbed a man at knifepoint at Paradise Sports Grounds, Sutherland Street. It is necessary to point out; the sports grounds are a stone’s throw from Terminus Street, where the first robbery took place. As mentioned, two men were also involved in the first case.

While armed robberies prove to be a cause of concern for pedestrians, Newcastle Detectives are investigating a residential burglary, which occurred on 23 January 2021

According to Arumugam, the incident took place on Scott Street at 3 pm. The complainant states that he saw two men climbing out of a broken window after he arrived home. A chase then ensued, resulting in both men being caught and taken into police custody.

Following the above, vehicles in the CBD are being targeted. This can be seen when referring to two recent cases. The first coming on 20 January 2021 on Scott Street in the CBD whereby Arumugam explains the victim parked his car, and upon his return to his vehicle, he discovered his laptop had been stolen.

The second incident notes Newcastle Detectives investigating a case which also took place on 20 January 2021 on Allen Street. The victim had parked his car, and when he returned, he noticed that one of his car doors was unlocked and his laptop was gone.

While investigations are underway, Newcastle Police are encouraging Newcastillians to practise vigilance and caution in town.

The SAPS has gone as far as to provide safety tips to minimise the chances of falling victim to crime:

Safety tips for motorists:

  • When driving ensure that your windows are slightly opened or closed.
  • Always be on alert when approaching an intersection and a red robot; as suspects usually target these areas.
  • Keep your car doors locked at all times.
  • Ensure that you take your car keys out of the ignition, out of the door and keep the keys in your possession.
  • Never display your valuables on the car seat.

Street safety tips: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times and trust your instincts. If you think you are in an area you should not be in, you probably are correct.
  • Walk with confidence on the street and at a good, steady pace. Keep your head up, observe your surroundings, and don’t look down at the ground.
  • Carry a whistle or similar type of noisemaker. In the event of an emergency, the sound may scare off a would-be attacker.
  • Take special care when jogging or biking. Vary your route, go with a friend, and avoid isolated areas.
  • Do not wear headphones or listen to music. These can distract you from being aware of your surroundings and who may be approaching you.
  • Keep purses and packages tucked securely between your arms and body. Don’t overload yourself with packages and bags – it is distracting, and it can make you look defenceless.
  • Carry only what you need. Don’t carry a large amount of cash or numerous credit cards and avoid wearing flashy and excessive amounts of jewellery.

With the above in mind, share your views in the comment section below. Do you feel Newcastle’s CBD crime rate is rapidly increasing? And what streets should people avoid walking alone on? 

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3 Responses

  1. My father in law was robbed yesterday at the robot at Murchison and Sutherland streets. One guy knocked on the passenger window whilst another on the drivers side grabbed his phone and other belongings from his top shirt pocket.

    1. Hi Michelle, thank you for your comment, so sorry to hear that. Hope your father in law is okay? We have previously reported on such robberies and it appears to be a continuous issue.

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