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Tue May 24 15:52:31 SAST 2016

Tokai Forest not known as crime hotspot

Wim Pretorius | 09 March, 2016 21:35
"There have been reports of thefts, robbery and muggings in the past. But it's certainly not on the scale that I'm used to in Johannesburg," Powell said. File photo
Image by: Adrian de Kock / Adrian de Kock

The Tokai Forest was not known as a crime hotspot, but plans to increase safety are being discussed, a local anti-crime organisation said on Wednesday.

Kirstenhof Crime Watch chairperson, Sean Powell, told News24 that the area had recently experienced a few incidents of vehicles being broken into, but it did not have a reputation for violent crime.

This all changed following the death of Franziska Blöchliger, who was beaten and strangled to death and her body dumped in bushes inside the forest. The murder has shocked Cape Town.

"There have been reports of thefts, robbery and muggings in the past. But it's certainly not on the scale that I'm used to in Johannesburg," Powell said.

"The area is quite crime-free and peaceful, but there appears to be an increase in terms of alleged incidents in recent times."

Powell said the area was not covered in thick bushes that make it easy for criminals to hide. The area is mostly covered in pine trees and there are a few areas of fynbos.

He said that the area was very popular with the community and there were lots of people in the forest between sunrise and sunset.

"At night the forest is not lit so people tend to stay clear."

There have been meetings since the murder to discuss the safety of the park and Powell believes plans will be implemented in the near future to make the forest safer for visitors.

In the meantime, he said, people should approach Tokai Forest with caution.

"This is a horrific crime, one that has shocked Capetonians to the core."

Source News 24

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