Bumper festive season ‘hosted well with little incidents’, says CPF

Cape Town Central CPF members discuss crime trends over the festive season.

Security authorities in the city centre as well as the city bowl managed to keep incidents at a minimum during the festive season, which was the first “normal” festive season since the lockdowns implemented to curb Covid-19 from March 2020.

The security role players were congratulated by the Cape Town Central community police forum (CPF) last Thursday, February 2, at the first CPF meeting of 2023, at the station in Buitenkant Street.

CPF chairman Marc Truss said despite Cape Town facing a fairly unknown festive season as the world recovered from the pandemic, events were hosted well with very little incidents.

“We saw a huge influx of people into the city from November right through to January and events took place all over, but they were hosted very well. We are are starting to be able to manage such events and we are learning from past mistakes.”

However, he said, people were still leaving valuables in cars, and walking around without being vigilant, making themselves targets.

Police reported that the biggest concerns are still robberies and theft out of motor vehicle, with the problematic areas being the CBD, around the transport hubs, the club strips and Signal Hill.

Crime intelligence officer Captain Armand Brinks said they’ve seen an increase in robberies from December 2022 to January 2023, compared to the same period in December 2021 to January 2022, while theft out of motor vehicle remained more or less the same.

He added that the grabbing of cellphones and golden chains is still the biggest issue, and breaking of car windows to steal valuables.

Captain Brinks said the area around the Castle of Good Hope, Table Mountain and Signal Hill were hotspot areas during the festive season, as there were many visitors to these areas who had their windows smashed along the roads.

Mr Truss added that during the festive season, people tended to leave their shopping in the car, making them a target. He said while most of these people were travellers, he urged locals to warn people of this and educate them around safety.

He said snatch-and-grabs were still involving children walking around in the city centre in groups. “We watch video footage and it seems to be suspects monitoring people with cellphones and chains, and they strike very fast. Within seconds, you become a victim of robbery.”

He said security authorities were meeting with establishments in the city bowl to get them to help warn visitors and tourists about safety. “It’s difficult to assume who criminals are but we have to remain vigilant and we have to educate people.”

The clubs were also problematic during the festive season, said Captain Brinks, with many operating beyond their designated closing times, and as a result, people became victims of robbery in the early hours of the morning – around 7am.

He said the police had had a meeting with liquor licence owners and the Western Cape Liquor Authority to warn owners about adhering to their trading hours and the repercussions of keeping clubs open later – licence holders could face hefty fines and objections when their liquor licence comes up for annual renewal.

Mr Truss added that over the festive season, they have been picking up many intoxicated people off pavements and on the streets in the middle of the night, who then become victims of robbery.

The designated liquor officer at Cape Town Central, Captain Tobias du Plessis, said police and security stakeholders have been visiting liquor premises throughout the festive season, and said they have identified six that are the most problematic. While he could not name the establishments, he said the police were working on getting the problems resolved.

Meanwhile, Mr Truss thanked former City Central Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks, for his partnership and hard work in making the city centre a safer town for all.

Mr Hendricks resigned from the CCID last year after 16 years of service, and was thanked by the meeting in his absence.

CPF meetings takes place on the first Thursday of every month at the Akker Hall, Cape Town Central police station in Buitekant Street, at 8am. The next one will be held on Thursday March 2.