Safety concerns at Joburg’s graveyards as criminals take advantage of the holiday season

Johannesburg City Parks has warned visitors to grave sites to be careful of criminals operating in the cemeteries.

This comes after complaints on social media and community WhatsApp groups around Soweto about crime at Avalon Cemetery.

Made to sit on graves while being robbed

In a voice note circulating on social media, a woman detailed how she and her family were assaulted at a cemetery by three criminals and made to sit on graves while they were being robbed.

She said after taking money and cell phones the robbers went with one of her relatives to search their car. They then told them that they would take the car key and leave it on one of the graves as they made their escape.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Thousands of ash niches vandalised in Braamfontein Cemetery

“This was a traumatic thing for us. I would like to warn people not to visit the cemetery during the week, at least go on the weekend when it is busy,” she said.

Be alert

City Parks’ spokesperson Jenny Moodley told The Citizen visitors should be alert.

“Johannesburg has over 42 cemeteries with 38 cemeteries that are dormant and reached its capacity. There have been isolated reports of opportunistic crime that are reported in some of these cemeteries. Families visiting graves in these cemeteries are urged to be vigilant and let SAPS and the security team at the entrance of any suspicious activity or an incident,” Moodley said.

There are four active cemeteries where new burials are held.

“These cemeteries have private security posted at the entrance, which is supported by random patrols by JMPD and the city parks rangers.

“However due to the sprawling expanse of cemeteries and limited resources, it is not feasible to deploy additional personnel to patrol cemeteries,” Moodley said.

Moodley said in some instances the fences around Johannesburg’s cemeteries were cut to gain entry into the graveyard.

ALSO READ: Fears of a spike in attacks at Emmarentia Botanical Gardens this festive season

“Unfortunately fences in some of the cemeteries have been affected by large-scale theft. City Parks is interrogating alternative options to enhance safety as fences must be complemented with visible policing to deter criminal activity,” Moodley said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *