Robberies in city centre a concern for police

Above: Tamboerskloof Watch chairperson, Thorsten Klingelhoeffer, with the Community Police Forum (CPF) award nominees, Delmaine Abrahams from ADT security, Michelle Perrins, a neighbourhood watch member, and CPF chairperson Marc Truss.

Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) members have expressed concern about robberies with weapons following an incident where a French student was stabbed in Bo-Kaap last week.

At the meeting, which took place at Cape Town Central police station on Thursday May 2, CPF chairman Marc Truss said security authorities all over the City Bowl are on the hunt for the man, who was caught on video footage stabbing a woman several times in the neck with a knife before taking her bag.

The incident took place on Tuesday last week.

The woman, who is from Bo-Kaap and studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), is recovering in hospital.

Mr Truss appealed to the police to “pull out all stops to find the man”, who is said to be from the area.

Police also reported that theft out of motor vehicle and robberies were still the top crimes committed in the city centre. This included a reported robbery with a firearm.

The affected roads for the past week were Strand, Bree, Sir Lowry, Constitution, DF Malan and Darling streets. CPF members also conducted profiling operations at the Castle of Good Hope and the Grand Parade. However, they reported a decrease in crime in the notorious Long Street, after a number of operations over the weekend.

Cape Town Central police spokesperson, Captain Ezra October, said the decrease was due to the ongoing operations and foot patrols in the area.

“We have mobilised all security stakeholders and it has made a difference. We have also made several arrests for various crimes, most of which was drug-related, and found two men wanted for theft out of motor vehicle and robbery.”

However, he said, the police were experiencing ongoing issues on the corner of Long and Shortmarket streets. The spot is a popular one for tourists, who congregate there to catch the Sightseeing Red bus and for information on city tours. Captain October said robberies have become a concern in that area.

“The difficulty is that people watch the space all the time and pass on information to one another.”

Police are concerned about the growing number of people living on the open fields in District Six.

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said the City was aware of the issues.

Complaints received are of illegal fires, littering and anti-social behaviour. He said during an operation by law enforcement officers last week, 16 illegally erected structures were dismantled, 17 fines were issued for by-law offences and 22 compliance notices were issued.

He said they were unable to verify how many more people recently moved into the area as some of them are transitory. “The Street People Reintegration Unit field officers are in the area on a weekly basis to offer social support and relocation to shelters or the City’s Safe Space which is voluntary to accept. Unfortunately, all offers of support are continuously refused by the individuals that frequent the area.”

Two police officers and community members were praised for their hard work and were handed a voucher and a certificate of recognition.

Captain Aby Draai was praised for investigation work in following up information regarding the arrest of the suspected arsonist at Cape Town railway station recently, as well as the arrest of a well-known gang leader in Factreton in an attempted murder case.

Sergeant Bheki Masangwana was recognised for the arrest of seven suspects in two separate cases of robbery – robbery of a skateboard in Zonnebloem, and robbery of a cellphone on the Grand Parade. The CPF nominated Delmaine Abrahams from ADT security and Michelle Perrins, a neighbourhood watch member, for dedication to the safety of their communities.

The next CPF meeting will be held at the Akker Hall at Cape Town Central police station on Thursday June 6, at 8am.