Spike in contact crime

Cape Town Central Police Station are warning residents about the increase in contact crimes in the precinct.

There were 77 more of these cases in October this year compared to 198 in October last year.

Contact crimes include assault and robbery.

This as well as the number of crimes involving the use of a weapon were among the items on the agenda at the Cape Town Community Police Forum AGM on November 1

Captain Ezra October, spokesperson for the Cape Town Central Police Station, said the hot spots for contact crimes included Long Street in the CBD, Mill Street in Gardens, and Kloof Street in Tamboerskloof.

Captain October said most of the robberies took place near shopping centres in Gardens and Tamboerskloof. He advised residents to be vigilant and to keep valuables out of sight.

Captain October said they were also concerned about pubs and clubs adhering to the liquor laws.

“It is a big concern for the community as there has been changes in the Provincial Liquor Act. The main concern is that there was a cut-off time of 2am but places have been given extensions until 4am. I think that puts pressure on the police.”

He said the police have established a unit that deals specifically with liquor-related complaints.

He added that there needs to be an integrated approach from all the roleplayers, especially with the upcoming festive season.

“You have end of year functions and different celebrations. We are geared up, we are ready and have planned liquor outlet operations. We are hoping that the pubs and clubs adhere to the law.”

Captain October said they were were working closely with the CPF ahead of the festive season.

Another issue that the police are concerned about is online scamming over websites where anyone can place advertisements. “It is important to be vigilant of these scams. It is a reality that it happens and people are conned into renting a property and they come here for holiday accommodation and find themselves stranded.”

He advised holiday goers to use reputable real estate companies. He also advised the community against sending money to someone who they haven’t met face to face.

Nicola Jowell, chairperson of the Cape Town CPF, said they were also concerned about the number of contact crimes going into the festive season. Ms Jowell said that many of the crime categories are showing a decrease or stable numbers compared to the same time last year.

“However, our contact crime numbers are of concern. An increase in the number of robberies both common and aggravated is deeply problematic. We commend SAPS on actively policing this issue and we have seen a number of fantastic arrests.

“The number of commercial crimes is also high on our agenda. This year has really seen a marked increase in this category and we are concerned that the numbers are going to grow. Some of it is impossible to prevent through policing but rather needs to be done by means of awareness and an alert public – for example the scamming on second hand sale internet sites.”

She said that another concern was the number of crimes where a weapon is used. “We know that a number of our crimes involving guns are actually being committed with a fake gun but for the victim this distinction does not make it easier. So the number of weapons is a concern. The increase in the number of remote jamming incidents is problematic and one that the general community need to be aware of. We still hear from too many people who have no idea about this and how easy it is to prevent becoming a victim.”

Mr Jowell said that they hope to be partnering with SAPS with a number of operations in the lead up to the festive season. “SAPS will be launching a comprehensive Festive Season Plan which we are eager to partner with them on. We will be taking part in the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children and will assist with awareness campaigns. We will also be having a CPF crime-free night in the lead up to the festive season. But we also will assist in spreading the message of how people can try to keep safe over this festive period. We encourage our neighbourhood watches to also be active over this period and to know and understand what is happening in their communities.”

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign will take place from Friday November 25 to Saturday December 10.

Vito Paparella, chairman of the Devils Peak/ Vredehoek Neighbourhood Watch, said they were concerned about the general increase in crime in the area. However, he said they had managed to reduce the number of contact crimes by seven to 43, comparing the period October 1 2014 to September 30 2015 with October 1 2015 to September 30 2016. “The hotspots for muggings is the area close to De Waal Drive. People are being mugged in the early hours of the morning or in the evening. SAPS has increased visibility in the area recently. Another concern for Mr Paparella was housebreakings and theft out of motor vehicles. They were also hoping to engage with the City of Cape Town about the increase of homeless people in the area.

Thorsten Klingelhoeffoer, chairperson of the Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch, said they would be warning tourists in the area of the current trends by sending information to guest houses. He said it was important for tourists and residents to be vigilant in the coming months.

Rob Kading, chairman of the Oranjezicht Higgovale Neighbourhood Watch, said the main concern was an increase in muggings, particularly close to the Gardens area. He said there had been recent incidents of muggings taking place in Gardens in broad daylight. Mr Kading advised residents to be vigilant in the area.

Erefaan Ramjam, a volunteer member of the Bo-Kaap Neighbourhood Watch, agreed that the increase of robberies was a problem for the area. He said that tourists visiting the area should be vigilant and tour companies should also be telling tourists to be careful about walking with valuables.