OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR RE CRIME IN BETTYS BAY
Burglaries in Bettys Bay have been increasing dramatically over the past five years. Everybody seems to know who the culprits are and that they mostly live among us here in Bettys Bay. Police confirm this but few arrests and even fewer successful prosecutions have taken place.
I write this on behalf of neighbours in an area of about one kilometre around my house in Disa Road, Bettys Bay, and will list below the plot numbers of these properties which have been burgled and robbed over the past couple of years. Many of these have been robbed several times. Of course this type of crime happens throughout Bettys Bay and Pringle Bay but we are listing here only the facts we know of in our immediate area, which hopefully can convince you of the extent of the problem.
The situation has become intolerable and totally unacceptable to residents who are also loyal citizens and ratepayers. Many of us have retired to this beautiful area but now find ourselves vulnerable and afraid within our own houses as we are being robbed even while we are inside our homes or a few meters away in our gardens.
The pattern of burglaries in the past few months has been the same. During the night of 12 June, 2015, two burglaries took place within a short distance of each other – window panes carefully removed, burglar bars cut through, alarm systems avoided, and several laptops, tablets, a camera and two tvs taken while residents were asleep a few meters away. The attitude of the police, who politely take statements, is here is a case number so you can claim from insurance. Meanwhile the owners have lost invaluable work which will cost them heavily and their rightful enjoyment of their property is destroyed.
I personally have had six robberies from our property over the past three years, the most recent last week, 1st July, 2015, when the engine of my son’s boat was stolen after the robbers had cut the electrical lead to the motion sensitive spotlight, which would have alerted us as we slept only 3 meters away in our bedroom. On 29 June, 2015, two large boat engines were stolen from a house in Crassula Way, near us.
We have been told that there is no possibility of more police being allocated to Kleinmond Station, which has to cover the area from Kleinmond to Rooi Els. It has reached the point where victims in our area have been offering rewards for return of their goods, particularly when all their work data is stored on a stolen computer. Police appear to even be encouraging this approach as they tell us they do not have the staff to follow up the charges laid. Other neighbours we know of now have licensed firearms to protect themselves.
It is clear to us that despite all our efforts, huge expenses in upgrading security systems, being vigilant, locking all doors and windows, i.e., living like prisoners within our own homes (as many of these robberies happen during daylight hours), we cannot succeed as we are not getting a co-ordinated effort from our Police Force, Caledon Magistrate’s Court, the Prisons Department and our municipal leaders, to try to stop this crime.
We consider it is our constitutional right as citizens and ratepayers to be protected by the South African Police Force. Bettys Bay should have a permanent police station situated strategically in this village, manned by at least 3 experienced officers and tracker dogs - as the reason given to us by the police for not finding the culprits is that we have chosen to have no street lights or walls around our properties – and this is the very reason we chose to live in this biosphere reserve dedicated to nature in the first place.
This crime has to stop! And we are appealing to you to take co-ordinated, dedicated action on our behalf that will lead to a liveable solution. Crime started escalating in this area about five years ago when the abalone poaching syndicates began targeting Bettys Bay and by all accounts paid the local poachers with drugs, leading to addiction, which in turn has led to this overwhelming level of crime in this paradise of nature.
The culprits need to be prosecuted and sent to prison for lengthy periods where hopefully they will undergo intensive drug rehabilitation. Obviously this needs dedication, compassion and Political Will. It can only succeed if all work together. We know that our Police Force falls under National Government but we have confidence that you will be able to instigate and pursue the necessary action for this totally untenable situation to be tackled.
The following is a list of properties in our immediate neighbourhood which have been burgled over the past couple of years and whose owners endorse this letter:
Disa Road: 3933, 3939, 3910, 3909, 3929, 3928, 3927, 3926, 3863, 3864, 3881, 3883, 3884, 3877,3934
Seaway: 3900, 3901, 3902, 3875, 3876
Cotula Close : 3925, 3924, 3922, 3921, 3918, 3917, 3904, 3906, 3915
Mimetes Road: 2516
This list only includes those robberies we personally know of.
3927 and 3926 Disa Road, Bettys Bay.
(This list was updated on Tues 11th Aug, 2015)
Google map of the robberies
We are maintaining a map and a spreadsheet of the break-ins. Please Click here to see the map.