2007-08-26 : The mugging hot spots you should avoid

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2007-08-26 : The mugging hot spots you should avoid

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-09-21 07:28

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1 ... 363C209960

The mugging hot spots you should avoid

August 26 2007 at 10:25AM

By Clayton Barnes & Lynnette Johns

Lion's Head, Skeleton Gorge and Signal Hill have been identified as
the likeliest places for hikers to be mugged on the mountain.

Muggings escalated in the last two weeks with 15 cases reported,
compared to a total of 18 since the beginning of the year.

In one of the latest incidents a woman was told to take off her
good-quality hiking gear, leaving her stripped down to her panties and
bra before the muggers made off with her valuables.

On Thursday MEC for community safety Leonard Ramatlakane will meet the
police and tourism role players to thrash out a way forward.

Click here!

And the Table Mountain National Park and its partners - Cape Town
Tourism, the police and the provincial government - will hold a "state
of readiness" meeting to discuss safety on the mountain chain.

There have been calls for a command-and-control centre to be
established which would better co-ordinate the efforts of the 52
rangers and 200 volunteers who patrol the mountain.

A former ranger told the Weekend Argus on Saturday he and a team of
four used to patrol the area between Signal Hill and Silvermine on
foot, horse, motorcycle and Landcruiser.

"We were easily identified because we wore khaki uniforms and green
epaulettes and carried firearms as a matter of course, although I
never had cause to use mine."

The man said he could not understand why the crime situation had
spiralled out of control on the mountain.

"I acknowledge that times have changed, but all you need is a
co-ordinated, constant, visible presence," he said.

The muggers have been described as using guerrilla warfare tactics,
prompting mayoral committee member for economic development and
tourism Simon Grindrod to call on the military for assistance.

"They already do training exercises on the mountain - all they would
need to do is up their visibility and they know how to deal with
guerrilla warfare tactics."

He added: "It is not fair to expect citizens to play the role of law
enforcers and potentially place themselves in danger. Capetonians pay
rates and taxes and they have a right to expect to enjoy the mountain
without fear."

He also made his call on the BBC, and it is being carried on the
British news corporation's website.

Mountaineer Gordon Evans suggested building watchtowers on Maclear's
Beacon, the highest point on the mountain, and at the top of
Platteklip Gorge.

A spokesperson for the Table Mountain National Park said it was taking
a new look at its safety and security strategy before it made any
decisions following proposals from all quarters, including the
provincial government, for the central control centre on the mountain.

Phumeza Mgxashe, park communications manager, said no decision had
been made on the latest proposal.

"We've received a number of proposals and will make an announcement as
soon as we decide what to do," said Mgxashe.

"I'm not at liberty to say who the proposals were from or what they
entail, but can confirm that we are relooking our safety and security
strategy before making an announcement."

She identified Lion's Head, Skeleton Gorge and Signal Hill as routes
on which crime was rife.

"We are on high alert as most attacks have occurred on these routes,"
she said. "People should really be careful and we discourage hikers
from taking any valuables with them when heading up the mountain."

Provincial police spokesperson Director Novela Potelwa, who was part
of a Table Mountain security work group meeting on Thursday, said one
of the critical points identified was the need for a "proper
assessment" of the situation.

"A suitable plan has to be devised from that assessment.

"Then we'll also be able to match the resources to the threat. We want
to make the mountain safe for everyone by setting up a control centre
... I'm sure the response time will be much faster."

Potelwa said claims that children were used as scouts by muggers were
not true. All the attackers were believed to be men older than 18.

"There are so many pathways and anyone has access to most of them.We
encourage people not to take valuables with them, to hike in groups
and to be vigilant."

o This article was originally published on page 5 of Sunday Argus on August 26, 2007
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