Focus on CBD crime trends

City Central Improvement District (CCID) safety manager, Muneeb Hendricks, said crime in the city has remained low despite lockdown.
Crime in the Cape Town CBD remains consistently low despite lockdown restrictions easing and more people streaming into the central city for work or business, according to statistics released by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID).

Last month, 117 incidents of crime were recorded in the city centre by the CCID safety and security department, compared with 164 in July 2019. This is a decrease of 29%.

CCID safety manager Mo Hendricks said while there has been a slight increase in certain crime categories since lockdown was instituted at the end of March, the number of contact crimes has not increased, nor have the crimes considered to be a “priority” in the city centre. 

“We have seen an increase in crimes such as shoplifting, solicitations, possession of stolen goods and possession of drugs. These are not “priority” crimes in the CBD as the main crimes perpetrated are theft out of motor vehicles, common robbery, breaking into businesses and malicious damage to property.”

Regarding these “priority” crimes, only 26 incidents were recorded in July 2020 compared with 93 incidents in July 2019. This is a decrease of 72%.
“We have been very successful in apprehending perpetrators of these crimes and, working with our main partner SA Police Services (SAPS), we have managed to maintain low levels of crime in the CBD even though there are many more people in the city centre now than there were during Level 5 of lockdown. The main problems in the CBD stem from antisocial behaviour in the form of aggressive begging, drug usage in public, homelessness and the erection of illegal structures.”

With 20 arrests made by the CCID last month,  Mr Hendricks says the department has been successful in apprehending suspects who commit “policeable crimes”. “These are crimes where an increase is only recorded because perpetrators have been arrested and identified.”

In this category, in July 2019, there was one incident of possession of stolen goods, two cases of shoplifting and 13 cases of sex work, compared with seven incidents of possession of stolen goods (an increase of 86%), six cases of shoplifting (an increase of 67%) and 35 cases of sex work (an increase of 63 %) in July 2020.

Commenting on the national crime statistics recently released by SAPS, Mr Hendricks said it’s important to remember that the statistics are for Cape Town Central police station, which encompasses six sectors from Table Mountain to the beginning of the harbour and from Searle Street to the traffic department in Green Point. The CCID operates in a smaller footprint in the Cape Town CBD.

However, the Cape Town CBD falls under the ambit of Cape Town Central and is doing well from a crime perspective when one compares it to other major CBDs in South Africa who have a smaller footprint, when it comes to:

Murder: Cape Town does not feature on the list with Johannesburg Central at number 24 on the list.
  •  Common robbery: Cape Town is on the list along with Johannesburg Central, Pretoria Central and Durban Central all appearing in the top five.
  •  Contact crime: Johannesburg Central is number one on the list, Durban Central is at number 21 and Cape Town Central is at number 25.
  •  Burglary (business premises): Johannesburg Central is listed at number nine, with Durban Central at number two while Cape Town Central features at number 26.
  •  Burglary (residential): Cape Town Central does not feature in this category.
  • Theft of motor vehicles: Durban Central is number two while Cape Town Central does not feature.
  •  Theft out of motor vehicles: Cape Town Central, Durban Central, Pretoria Central and Johannesburg Central feature within the top 15.
  •  Business robbery: Johannesburg Central is at number one with Durban Central at number 12. Cape Town Central does not feature on this list.