The City of Cape Town deployed 18 new law enforcement officers for the city centre on Monday April 15 at a launch event in Greenmarket Square.
This deployment is in addition to the R165 million that was made available to increase law enforcement efforts, with 100 more law enforcement officers being recruited, along with new CCTV cameras and patrol vehicles being deployed, throughout the city.
A further 200 officers will be deployed if the safety and security draft budget released for public comment earlier this month is approved by council. Comments close on Wednesday April 24.
“We have noted concerns about safety in the CBD and we want people to feel safer, so this is our direct attempt to address crime and will hopefully see an improvement in responding to incidents of crime in the city centre, said Mayor Dan Plato.
The main crime recorded in the city centre include pickpocketing, ATM fraud, theft out of motor vehicle, drug dealing and aggressive begging.
The Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said it was important for people to be safe in the CBD as this was needed for the economy to flourish.
“Our CBD is a key factor in tourism so it is essential that we provide safety for the CBD. This is not just for our visitors, but for businesses and the growing number of residents in the city.”
Mr Smith said there was significant deployment of law enforcement on the Grand Parade and in the transport hubs. “We are moving towards a 24-hour basis for law enforcement. We have already done this in Mitchell’s Plain and Muizenberg, so we are rolling it out.
“We also want to curb the drug trade in the city and the anti-social behaviour. The growth of our city depends on the CBD.”
Mr Plato said the deployment was also a project to create jobs. He said the additional deployment was a result of listening to businesses and people interested in security in the area. “We cannot allow negative infringement on our tourist sector as this drives our economy. We needed men and women on the ground to help us curb crime.”
However, he said the officers were not for the CBD alone. “They will also be deployed to areas on the Cape Flats, where people are dealing with shootings and violent crime on a daily basis.”
He reminded the new officers that corruption will not be tolerated, and wished them well on their new journey.
The CEO of the City Central Improvement District (CCID), Tasso Evangelinos, said he was looking forward to working with the City. “We appreciate the efforts to increase visible policing. The CBD economy needs to grow and for that, we need sufficient resources on the ground, so thank you for the extra investment.”
The area of deployment in the CBD will include Long Street, which was mentioned as an area of concern. There are now 62 law enforcement officers in the city centre, which includes the CCID staff complement of 16.