Bo-Kaap calls for more visible policing

Bo-Kaap residents are concerned about an increase in opportunistic crime in the area.

Bo-Kaap residents say muggings and other opportunistic crimes are happening in the neighbourhood daily and want more visible policing.

Yusuf Safudien, who is on the events committee at the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, said more police and City law enforcement officers were needed in the area.

“Bo-Kaap is one of the biggest tourist sites in the city, but we are concerned that there are muggings taking place on a daily basis.”

Theft from cars was also an issue as many people working in the CBD parked their vehicles in Bo-Kaap for the day.

“The police and the City need to do more. There needs to be a more visible presence in the area.”

Nicola Jowell, chairwoman of the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF), said they had met with several role-players about crime in the area.

“There have been a number of incidents in the area in question, and it is consistently a problem. We are aware that in many cases the victims of crime in the area are tourists and do not always open cases. This further compounds the issue as the true picture of what crime is happening in the Bo-Kaap is not evident to the police.”

She said partnerships were needed to tackle the crime problem and proactive action was needed from Cape Town Tourism and tourism businesses in the area.

“The businesses stand to have their businesses severely impacted if there is a drop in the tourist business in the area,” Ms Jowell said.

However, Cape Town Central police station spokesman Captain Ezra October said there had been no marked increase in crime in the area. Police, some of them undercover, patrolled the neighbourhood daily.

He urged more residents to get involved with the neighbourhood watch groups. “There is only one dedicated vehicle for the area. A lot of the crime is opportunistic and we are always picking up repeated offenders,” he said.

More collaboration, he noted, was needed with the City of Cape Town when it came to trouble spots, such as the Strand Street Quarry.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, said although crime prevention was primarily an SAPS responsibility, the City supported them.

“We account for just 3 percent of all policing resources in Cape Town and are simply too thinly spread to proactively patrol each and every suburb in the metropole as often as we would like. In many instances, our enforcement operations are complaints-driven as relates to by-law transgressions, which is our core function.”

Mr Smith encouraged residents to join their community police forum, set up street committees and build relationships with their local sector policing structure and ward councillor.