Bo-Kaap business owners concerned about crime

Business owners in Bo-Kaap say they are concerned about crime and harassment in the area.

Earlier this year the community held a march against crime and drug use in the area. The area still hosts numerous amounts of tourists daily and crime has become a concern.

Biesmiellah restaurant owner, Shoukat Osman, said crime is bad. “The crime is terrible, they’re breaking into cars, they’re harassing all the tourists, I would like to stop all tourists from coming to Bo-Kaap for one month… it’s unacceptable, it’s literally crazy. My tourism groups that come in for lunch are complaining, they get out of the bus and get harassed by these youngsters,“ he said.

Mr Osman added that stopping tourists from entering the area for a month would be to clean the streets and to get proper security measures in place.

Biesmiellah restaurant in Bo-Kaap where tourist often visit.

Another business owner, Moenier Davids from Bo-Kaap Deli situated in Rose Street, said everybody has been affected. “Many occasions I had to run… try to get back phones, cameras, it’s not my job to expose myself like that. It’s the right thing to do but very silly because anything can happen.”

Mr Davids added that more officers should be seen. “Employ enough officials to tackle the crime, and in turn, everybody will feel safe, tourists will come and it will pay for itself. I don’t know why we, the locals should feel unsafe in our own city, they made us feel safe during the world cup, why can’t they do it now?

Bo-Kaap Deli in Rose Street.

Bo-Kaap Neighbourhood Watch chairman, Ebrahiem Christians, said there’s also been a problem with the illegal parking attendants in the area. “The illegal parking attendants are harassing the people for parking money and forcing them to buy items at shops. Bo-Kaap had a tour ambassador programme in place and they would inform tourists of the do’s and don’ts and this programme was terminated.”

Last week Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, officially welcomed the 100 officers deployment to Cape Town’s Central Business District (CBD) for crime prevention – the officers have been on active duty since July.

Mr Smith, said the deployment of these 100 officers in the CBD will give law enforcement an effective 24- hour presence in the CBD and neighbouring areas will benefit from this deployment of officers. “The Bo-Kaap, because of it’s proximity to the CBD, will benefit from the additional officers deployed to the area,” he said.

“It is accepted that a focus on a particular area will displace crime to a neighbouring area. Because of this phenomenon officers on a daily basis conduct patrols in the Bo-Kaap as part of a general sweep of the area.

“All the areas surrounding the CBD such as Vredehoek, Gardens, etc all benefit from the additional boots on the ground, because the enforcement operations follow the crime pattern analysis which is relayed to them on a regular basis.”

Mr Hill-Lewis said the deployment will assist with safety. “The new CBD law enforcement deployment will help to keep residents and visitors safer. This in turn helps businesses thrive and keeps more people coming back to the CBD.

“We want the CBD to be a place where everyone can feel safe walking to and from the bus stop or the train station, and where women feel safe visiting restaurants and bars at night.

“The rise in petty and violent crime in the CBD has left people feeling vulnerable.

“These officers have undergone their training, they’ve been equipped, and they are now on duty. The difference they are making, even in the first few weeks of their deployment, has been felt by many,” said Mr Hill-Lewis.