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No child abductions in B’fell in last year

No child abductions were officially reported in Brackenfell in the last year, spokesperson for Brackenfell police, Captain Erica Crouse, confirmed last week.

“In the case of the young girl in Sonkring earlier this year, an attempted kidnapping could not be absolutely confirmed as the suspect attempted to rob the girl of her cellphone,” says Crous.

Amid the hype of current child abduction reports in Cape Town, some actual and some false, local parents were thrown into a state of panic last week.

In one incident, a pair of young men who were waiting for a girlfriend outside of Protea Heights Academy on Wednesday afternoon, were mistakenly reported by several concerned parents as “suspect” on neighbourhood watch groups.

According to these parents the men were taking “suspect videos and pictures of children inside the schoolyard” on their cellphones.

Police, neighbourhood watches and several armed response companies immediately responded, but after questioning the pair, ascertained that there was no threat. Police also confirmed that no suspect video material or photos were found on the men’s cellphones.

“Parents must at all stages be vigilant, but take care not to create unnecessary panic, which will also scare the children,” says Crous.

In a statement, Brackenfell CPF chairperson, Werner Victor, says the following: “We do not deny that child abduction is a reality but currently we have no evidence of any true threat in Brackenfell.

“There is indeed a modus operandi whereby criminals drive next to a pedestrian and jump out of the vehicle and attempt to grab whatever valuables the pedestrian is carrying. This might easily look like an attempt to kidnap the victim while the suspect is actually focusing on grabbing an item in the person’s possession.”

Victor says the use of a vehicle also adds to this impression.

“In most cases the valuables stolen are cellphones and bags. It is also true that women and children are more likely to become victims due to the fact that the resistance is usually less. We do urge the community not to walk while looking at their phones. Always be aware of your surroundings when you have to attend to your phone.

He adds that children are more prone to walk while playing games or texting their friends.

“Parents must please bring this under the attention of their children and teach them to be vigilant at all times.”

What is your opinion on this article? Let us know at briewe@tygerburger.co.za.

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