Long Street buckles under crime

Long Street is still a crime hot spot.

Long Street continues to be a crime hot spot, especially between 6pm and 9pm, it emerged at an imbizo hosted by Cape Town Central police station at the Slave Lodge last week.

The grabbing of cellphones, handbags and gold chains are popular, with the thieves making use of imitation guns and knives to scare off their victims and remote-jamming devices to steal visible items in vehicles such as laptops and cellphones.

The imbizo on Tuesday April 24 focused on Sector 1, which is the CBD, Sector 4, being Zonnebloem, and Sector 6 on the Grand Parade.

It was attended by residents, members of the neighbourhood watches and other stakeholders such as the Cape Town Central City Improvement and District (CCID).

The officials started with a moment of silence for children and families affected by crime in townships and police officers who have been killed while on duty.

Detective Captain Leon Marx presented crime statistics for the period between March 1 and April 22.

While there has been a reduction in serious crimes such as murder, sexual offences, robberies and assault, he said there has been an increase in arson, malicious damage to property, possession of drugs, illegal firearms and drunk driving in the CBD where the biggest challenge the police and law enforcement officers face is the theft out of motor vehicles.

Police ran about 199 crime prevention operations in these three sectors and they made 1 639 arrests which include 47 for robbery, 40 for assault, 36 for theft out of motor vehicles, three for business burglaries and 15 for residential burglaries.

The detective’s report also showed that Toyota Quantums have became a target as criminals steal their side mirrors, wheels caps and wheels.

In house burglaries, the criminals use crowbars and break in to garages and storerooms.

The officials are now running one awareness campaign every week on problematic crimes by engaging with the residents while encouraging active partnership policing.

Station Commander Brigadier Hansraj has urged residents to take part in more initiatives such as the imbizo as they are on the ground and understand their communities better.

Brigadier Hansraj said she wants to interact with communities on a monthly basis.

Concern was raised about ATM fraud which affects mostly the tourism industry. Tourists are deceived by criminals and robbed of large amounts of money.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of our economy and Cape Town is a flagship city, but we’re failing tourists,” shouted one resident.

Jonathan Brown, the manager of Spar in Darling Street, said there are three ATM fraud syndicates near their store and their customers are affected as at times criminals hit five times a week.

Some residents raised concerns about by-law infringements, immigration law offences and the limited power of law enforcement.

“Sometimes we’d call the law enforcement to assist us, but they do not have the power to arrest people, they can only issue fines,” said one resident.

Brigadier Hansraj said a programme where homeless people could also contribute in the upliftment of the community is needed.