Call for tighter security to curb Ottery robberies

Commuters and taxi drivers feel vulnerable at a taxi rank in Ottery.

Ottery commuters and taxi drivers are asking for more police presence following several robberies in the area.

Commuters at the Ottery Hyper taxi rank have been targeted by robbers who steal jewellery, cellphones, bags and other goods.

CommunityworkerMelanie Arendse said the robberies have been increasing as the festive season is starting. “People are getting robbed almost daily when they come from or go to work. Especially on a field that commuters use to get to the taxi rank. This is a huge problem especially with the festive season coming up,” she said.

Ms Arendse said even taxi drivers and their assistants aren’t safe.

“There have been a few cases where the robbers got into the taxi and robbed everyone. This is a problem and it needs to stop,” said Ms Arendse.

A taxi driver who did not want to be named said the robbers come at random times.

“It’s not just over the festive season. This happens all the time. It will only get worse because there’s no police to stop the robberies. People are robbed at gunpoint and nothing is being done about it,” he said.

Taxi door operator Tohier Lakay said he and his driver are always on high alert.

“Just last week a girl who was travelling to Mitchell’s Plain was robbed here at the rank. It happens a lot and police are rarely here to help,” he said.

“We try to keep ourselves and our customers safe but we need help,” he said.

WarrantOfficerWynita Kleinsmith, spokesperson for Grassy Park police, said the station is aware of the robberies in the area.

“Most of the cases reported in that area are street robberies. Visible patrols have been increased in Ottery because of the increase in street robberies,” said Warrant Officer Kleinsmith.

She advised taxi drivers to be vigilant at all times about who gets into their taxis.

“We are also asking the community to be vigilant at all times, not to take short cuts over fields, not to display valuables, to be very vigilant especially over this festive period when most workers will receive their holiday pay.”

Warrant Officer Kleinsmith confirmed that a case was opened last week when officers on patrol caught a man lurking in the area with an imitation gun.