Crime hot spot raises concerns

Gardens residents have started a petition to have a mobile public safety kiosk in the area to deal with anti-social and criminal activities in the area.

More than 350 home and business owners in Gardens are supporting a petition calling for the placement of a manned mobile public safety kiosk on the corner of Glynn and Buitenkant streets.

The residents said the ward councillors had been aware of this problem intersection for a number of years and they summoned them to this hot spot recently to raise their concerns.

“The continued and expanding criminal and anti-social activities at this intersection are having a negative impact on business and residential property investment sentiment in the area. The current situation also casts a negative image on the area, and Cape Town City Bowl in general, in terms of tourism,” they said.

In a letter to City officials, Gardens Neighbourhood Watch former chairman, Anthony Rees, said criminal offences at the intersection and immediate surroundings include robberies, thefts out of motor vehicles, assaults, as well as ongoing illegal alcohol and narcotic sales, which contribute to anti-social activities in and around the Gardens, lower Vredehoek and lower Oranjezicht areas.

He said they are dealing with daily by-law infringements which include aggressive begging, urinating or defecating, bathing or washing, performing sexual acts and starting and keeping fires in a public place.

They said the infringements pose a hygiene risk for those living illegally in this space as well as residents, pedestrians and animals who use the thoroughfare.

They said they have seen how the placement of manned mobile public safety kiosks in other areas of the city with similar crime and anti-social issues have been successful in tackling these infringements.

“We hereby request your action this soonest through the relevant City’s social development and safety and security departments, or the provincial Department of Safety and Security.

“Further please assist in initiating and coordinating multi role-player operations to first have the area normalised, followed by monitoring and rapid response procedures if similar criminal and antisocial behaviours reoccur,” they said.

Ward councillor Dave Bryant said the area around Glynn, Hope and Buitenkant streets is a challenge in terms of people sleeping rough and associated public nuisance and criminal incidents and has been a challenge for at least the past 10 years.

He said this section of the CBD is not covered by the Central City Improvement District (CCID) security teams and as a consequence more rough sleepers are based here.

He said the allocation of safety kiosks is a function of the safety and security directorate.

“I have repeatedly suggested that the community consider putting in place a local Central Improvement District (CID) for the Lower Gardens area and there is a renewed desire to get this up and running. This CID would provide additional safety and social services for the area. Similar CIDs are being set up in many areas across the city and these are going a long way to improving the cooperation between the City of Cape Town and local communities,” he said.

He said incidents of crime fall under the SAPS and must be reported at the Central police station when they occur, no matter how small the crime, and by-law infringements must be reported to Law Enforcement.

Central police station spokesperson, Captain Ezra October saidbecause of the curfew, crime has decreased in the area, but there’s a social behaviour issue and police could not remove the people living on the streets.