Lights event plagued by crime

The Law Enforcement Department’s Joint Operations Centre recorded a stabbing incident and two incidents of assault, as well as one lost child at the annual switching-on of the festive lights event on the Grand Parade on Sunday, December 3.

Three suspects were arrested, one for possession of a replica firearm, a gas pistol, and two for assault, robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said there were fewer incidents at the festive lights event this year, compared to last year when there were over 40 incidents of crime.

“The increased safety measures, particularly the rigorous access control, were key in making this event safer.

“Apart from the resources deployed, we also fenced off the event area to allow for secured access points where we were able to search patrons and confiscate prohibited items.

“Thanks to the Kid Smart Project, we had a more sophisticated monitoring system to help reunite any lost children with their families. We will continue to introduce new safety aspects in future to give peace of mind to the thousands of people for whom this annual event is very much a tradition.”

For some, the party continued into the night and long after the festive lights had been switched on.

In Sea Point, at approx-
imately 7.30am on Monday, the random breath testing team arrested a taxi driver who was transporting 10 passengers. He was found to be nearly 11 times over the legal alcohol limit.

Mr Smith added: “This type of behaviour is becoming far too commonplace and while no longer a surprise, it is still disappointing considering how much emphasis we place on road safety in particular over the festive season.

“I appeal to the public to work with us to ensure that we root out this type of arrogance and ignorance, not just over the holiday period, but permanently. Every time something happens, we are faced with a barrage of criticism about enforcement, but that’s really not where we are falling short. People need to start taking accountability for their actions if we are ever to make a meaningful difference on our roads.”