People carrying weapons cause concern

A business owner, who has restaurants in Loop, Long and Kloof streets, raised concerns about robberies and people carrying dangerous weapons when visiting spaces in the city, and called on the authorities and businesses to help work towards safer streets.

The owner, who asked not to be named, said despite paying for a security guard and bouncers searching patrons at the venues, people were entering the premises with knives, and patrons were being robbed of their cellphones by syndicates around these streets.

The concern was raised at the Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) meeting, which took place at the police station in Buitenkant Street on Thursday February 6.

The business owner said her staff also feel threatened, and her car had been keyed.

“We want to take back the streets – it’s really scary in those areas, and we want to link up with structures and perhaps start a safety conversation with other businesses in those streets.”

Gardens Neighbourhood Watch chairman,Thorston Kingelhoeffer, said he had numerous complaints from neighbours regarding these issues.

The Central City Improvement District (CCID) safety manager, Muneeb Hendricks, said while many of the complaints seem to be stemming from the sister businesses in Kloof Street, the CCID visit the Loop and Long Street businesses regularly.

Cape Town Central police spokesperson, Captain Ezra October ,said it was important that everyone takes responsibility for safety.

He said business owners and residents should join forums or establish street committees, as the entire street or area will benefit from better communication. CPF chairman, Marc Truss, said anyone experiencing problems of this nature can get in touch with their sector commander.

Police reservist applications for Cape Town Central police are open for 2020, and the public is encouraged to apply.

Reservist coordinator at Cape Town Central police, Warrant Officer Williams, said there were currently eight reservists at the station, and two were still on training.

He said in order to be a reservist, applicants must visit the station they want to work at, where their fingerprints will be taken for police clearance. Thereafter, police will visit the applicant’s home to do a check, and after the application is approved, they will receive a force number and commence with training.

Applicants must be between 20 and 40 years old.

Warrant Officer Williams said people can apply at any station they wish and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the station near their place of residence. He said people can be employed and still be a reservist. Most of the training is done over weekends, and can take up to four weeks to complete.

Application forms can be found at the Cape Town Central police station in Buitenkant Street.

In light of load shedding, Mr Truss urged people to have their alarms checked after the lights go on, and to remain vigilant as dark areas are often targeted by criminals during power outages.

“Power outages will create opportunity, so our crime will increase. People should take preventative measures. Don’t leave your car outside if the electric gate won’t open – park it in your garage as soon as the lights go back on.

“Check your alarm batteries and your alarms so that you are safe and protected. Check the schedules.”

Head of the City’s law enforcement tourism unit, Ricardo Meyer, said they have changed the way they patrol to deploy officers to all of the areas they cover.

Previously, they had all officers patrol the area on Signal Hill, then rotated every hour to other areas including Bo-Kaap, Table Mountain and the Grand Parade.

Police reported at the meeting that Signal Hill had become a problematic area and robberies were on the rise. Mr Meyer said they have now split up the officers,
and have four stationed at each hot spot area.

The tourism unit was criticised for the deployment of the officers at the partnership meeting on Thursday January 30.

Mr Hendricks said that the deployment strategy didn’t work, as they drove from area to area every hour, and crime moves around, or the pattern is recognised by potential criminals.

The tourism unit was launched by the City in December last year to focus on tourism hot spots in the city. Officers have been deployed in key tourist areas like the cable car parking areas, the V&A Waterfront bridge, St George’s Mall and the Bo-

In a statement, the City said the officers worked as enforcers and also visibility patrollers in the assigned areas, including hiking trails and parking areas; interacting with tourists and distributing pamphlets with safety tips.