CRIME in the Cape Town city centre during Level 4 of the nationwide lockdown has dropped by 73% across all crime categories compared with the number of incidents recorded this time last year, according to statistics released by the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s (CCID) Safety & Security department.
Only 94 crime incidents were reported from 26 March 2020 to 15 May 2020, compared with 340 during the same period last year, says CCID Safety & Security manger Mo Hendricks.
The number of contact crimes has also dropped dramatically compared with the same period last year. In 2019 there were: 23 robberies, 83 cases of theft out of motor vehicles and 38 cases of people fighting in public. From the start of lockdown until 15 May 20020, there were five robberies (a reduction of 78 %), 5 cases of theft out of motor vehicle (a reduction of 92 %) and 11 cases of people fighting in public (a reduction of 70 %).
There were no incidents of ATM fraud, which is usually a prevalent crime in the CBD, and no incidents of general theft.
Hendricks says the CCID Safety & Security department is operating at full capacity as an essential service during the lockdown, with its full complement of 300 Public Safety Officers on duty day and night 24/7. The CCID changed its security deployment strategy for the lockdown period to focus on protecting people, property and possessions.
“Our strategy has proved to be very successful as, working closely with our partners SAPS and the City’s Law Enforcement agency, we have managed to maintain a strong security presence and been able to effectively enforce the lockdown regulations as stipulated in the National Disaster Act,” he says.
The CCID has been highly effective in enforcing the lockdown regulations, including the fining of traders and small businesses for the illegal sale of cigarettes, and for individuals breaking curfew regulations. Says Hendricks: “Fines of over R20 000 have been issued for the illegal sale of cigarettes and people being out on the streets without a permit from 20h00 to 05h00.”
Cigarettes were also at the centre of the successful arrest of two armed robbers who held up a CBD convenience store owner and made off with goods including three bags full of cartons of cigarettes worth tens of thousands of Rands.
While the first weekend after the lockdown was enforced was eventful, with the CBD experiencing a spate of business break-ins which resulted in the arrest of 14 suspects, the main crimes being committed during this stage of lockdown have been fighting in public, possession of illegal substances and possible stolen goods, and prostitution.
The CCID is also increasing its services to stakeholders during this phase of the lockdown to include the following:
- Routine checking of residential complexes;
- Routine commercial building checks to ensure doors and windows are secured;
- Rapid response to building alarm activations received via the CCID control center or on the ground via PSOs.
- A courtesy safety escort service to individuals who feel unsafe walking in the CBD;
- Providing businesses (which are trading) with security when they open or lock up their premises.