Long Street problems persist

Long Street is still a crime hot spot.

Police say they will not tolerate the behaviour of intoxicated youngsters in Long Street.

This after a 15-year old boy was stabbed in the head during an altercation in front of Stones on Saturday July 1.

This emerged at the Cape Town Central community police forum (CPF) meeting on Thursday July 6 at the police station in Buitenkant Street, where police said they have been battling with the volumes of youth coming into the city centre during the school holidays.

Cape Town Central police spokesperson Captain Ezra October said as Crime Prevention Unit members were doing patrols and conducting operations, a fight broke out and a boy was stabbed in the head.

“The group couldn’t get into the club because they were underage, so they stood outside on the pavement and had a party until they had an altercation.”

He said the boy was rushed to Somerset Hospital where he was treated, and police members sat with him for hours trying to help him.

“The boy didn’t want to lay a charge and refused to speak. He said his mother didn’t know where he was in the evening, and he did not want to get caught out, therefore no one had been arrested.”

Long Street continues to be a hotspot and police expressed their concern about robberies, pickpocketing and car break-ins.

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

Concerns of prostitution on the corner of Long and Shortmarket streets were also raised at the meeting.

Business owner Ed Saunders, who is active in attempts to improve Long Street, said the strip has hit rock bottom. He said while he and a few businesses are trying to better the situation, and despite a number of meetings with security stakeholders, the combination of issues such as aggressive begging, drugs, pickpocketing and robbery are still rife.

“We need to go back to Bobby on the Beat — police need to patrol, and not in their cars.”

He said some Long Street businesses have been working together with CBD social NGO Streetscapes to employ aggressive beggars and have them clean up the streets, and Law Enforcement and the Central City Improvement District (CCID) are more visible now.

“The truth is that you cannot walk down Long Street and not get hassled. The truth is a 15-year-old child can get stabbed here. The truth is that tourists and visitors are scared. We have to start changing this perception and changing behaviour.”

Captain October said now that the schools have reopened, they will meet with all the principals about the pupils loitering on the CBD bus terminus (“Problem pupils”, CapeTowner, May 24, 2018).

Robberies, with and without dangerous weapons, and theft out of motor vehicles remains a challenge for police, especially in the city centre.

The head of visible policing, Colonel Andre Coetzee said they have managed to decrease the number of aggravated robberies by arresting people with weapons, however, he said the community needs to be more vigilant, especially when walking with cellphones.

He said the police try to create awareness by doing pamphlet drops at traffic lights, but the community still need to educate one another about safety.

“We preach this over and over again, but we urge the community to hide your valuables when you park your car, and not to take your cellphone out in the roads.”

The CCID security manager Muneeb Hendricks said he was concerned about ATM fraud, drug usage in public and the theft of CCTV cameras in the city centre. He said with ATM fraud, there seems to be new syndicates operating in the area, parking near to hotels and telling tourists they need permits to walk in some areas.

They then accompany the tourists to the ATM, where the tourists are robbed. He said they were working with the banks and the roleplayers from the tourism industry to raise the concerns around fraud (“Tourist Threats”, the CapeTowner, April 11).

Mr Hendricks said he was also concerned about the increase in CCTV cameras been stolen around the city. He said four cameras were reported stolen in the past week.

The City of Cape Town declined to comment on the matter and said the cameras belonged to businesses in the area.

Drug usage in public was also an issue, he said, as shooting up in public or smoking drugs where people can see is a sign that “there is just no fear.”

He called on the police and security authorities to find a solution for this, so that there can be repercussions for using drugs in public.

“The CCID has brought in 20 additional members to patrol during the day, and 10 extra members at night to curb such behaviour and to focus on hotspot areas, but there has to be consequences for using drugs in public.”