Muggers go to town in Hillbrow- Kasi thugs said to be behind crime

Township thugs are apparently behind many crimes in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. /ALON SKUY
Township thugs are apparently behind many crimes in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. /ALON SKUY

Township criminals are apparently behind the spate of growing street robberies and muggings in Johannesburg's notorious flatland - Hillbrow.

This is according to the local Community Policing Forum, as Hillbrow residents are now resorting to taking the law into their own hands.

Community Policing Forum chairperson Denzel Goldstone said crimes such as robbery have been a big problem.

"We have realised that the problem is that criminals are not from these parts, they come from townships, rob people and then go back.

"Robberies and muggings are rife in Hillbrow and downtown Joburg but we do our best to try to prevent them."

Goldstone said they have increased the number of patrollers. "We have a strong patroller programme that has seen us making inroads in the fight against crime, but it is not easy to police a crime of this nature. Ours is to make sure we react quickly when it does happen so we can apprehend the suspects."

An alleged robber was set alight on Monday, and later died in hospital while his alleged accomplice was fighting for his life after being assaulted in a mob justice act. They had allegedly robbed a female pedestrian of her handbag. A video of the man engulfed in flames surfaced on social media on Tuesday.

"What happened on Monday was an isolated incident and we have never seen something like that happen before," Goldstone said. Official crime statistics record four robberies a day but residents said they see more on the packed streets, including in broad daylight, and claim most go unreported.

According to the 2017/2018 crime statistics, 1,358 cases of robbery with aggravating circumstances were reported at the Hillbrow police station. This was an increase from 1,308 cases recorded in 201620/17. Goldstone lamented the conviction rate for robberies.

"The department of justice needs to do something about this because you can arrest a guy today and you'll see them in the streets again tomorrow doing the same thing you arrested him for. It's frustrating."

Police spokesperson Captain Musa Shihambe said no arrests have been made yet in connection to the death of the suspect and attempted murder of his accomplice. "At the moment the suspect has not been identified. The second suspect is still in hospital."

A resident, who asked not to be named, said the problem was the massive influx of people into Hillbrow. "There are so many people here that it makes it easy for crime to reach the heights it has. Every single day someone gets mugged here, it's out of control."

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