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Thieves steal wheelie bins as tools to commit crime

Rise in bin theft leaves residents unhappy. Picture: Leon Lestrade.

Rise in bin theft leaves residents unhappy. Picture: Leon Lestrade.

Published Dec 11, 2021

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Cape Town - Residents in Southfield are outraged by the rise in bin theft, with municipal wheelie bins increasingly being used as a tool to commit crime in the area.

While the City’s Solid Waste Department reported a 17% increase in refuse bin theft between 2019 and 2021, Southfield residents are not having it as they feel susceptible to what might happen if waste collection services miss the day to collect the waste.

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Southfield Civic Association Chairman Gregori Bezuidenhoudt said that while security service providers and community WhatsApp platforms look out for each other, the petty crime still presents an inconvenience while residents wait on the replacements.

“While we have our regular bin pickers that make a living off recycled waste, unfortunately we have criminals that use this as an opportunity to do crime and community members are furious that this is a continuous occurrence.

“While some use the bin as a ladder to climb on walks, hiding places to ambush, and transport for stolen goods, a major contribution to an escape route is over the M5 as that in fact is open to foot traffic, and that unfortunately presents a challenge to get the perpetrators,” said Bezuidenhoudt.

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Mayco member for Waste and Water councillor Zahid Badroodien said given the increasing rate of bin theft, residents are advised to stay sharp and alert at all times.

“With the estimated 17% increase in refuse bins theft between the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years, residents are encouraged to bring in bins as soon as possible after they have been emptied and report the contents immediately should they fall victim to the theft.”

“If residents fall victim to the theft, they need to supply their municipal account number, address and contact details. Residents will then be issued with a reference number and their new bin should be delivered within 10 working days. When bins are stolen, the City will replace them at no additional charge and the City will ensure that waste is collected during the waiting period as residents are encouraged to not resort to illegal dumping during this time,” said Badroodien.

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Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said that while it was unfortunate many bins were left unattended when the owners are at work, the City’s law enforcement officers did their best to act when they came across suspected transgressions involving wheelie bins.

“It is a fact that criminals will use any mechanisms at their disposal to commit crime, including the use of municipal wheelie bins. The City’s law enforcement officers do act when they come across suspected transgressions involving wheelie bins. Any person found wheeling a bin along the street will be stopped and engaged.”

“The City’s Law Enforcement Department would urge home owners to liaise with neighbours who might be at home, to remove their bins from the street for safekeeping where possible, to minimise the risk of theft. In some communities, private security companies have forged close relationships with their neighbourhood watches and work together to prevent the theft of wheelie bins on scheduled refuse collection days,” said Smith.

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If you fall victim to your bin being stolen, report the incident via one of the following channels:

Call 0860 103 089

Online www.capetown.gov.za/servicerequests

Visit a City walk-in centre (see www.capetown.gov.za/facilities to find the one closest to you)

Email: [email protected]

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