CAPE TOWN – Crime in the Cape Town CBD is spiralling out of control and businesses are worried – especially after Cash Crusaders in the city was robbed this week.
Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said it was frustrating to see a spike in crime in the CBD.
“The Chamber played such a large role in establishing the Central Improvement District, which played an integral part in reducing crime in the city.
It appears there is again a time for increasing resources for safety and security in the city now that we see an increase in a number of aspects, such as increased tourism, the shift to residential city living and even the emergence of a vibrant night-time economy.
“All role players need to be part of an integrated solution that a modern city like Cape Town demands. This recent robbery in the daylight hours reflects negatively on the city and decreases business confidence which in turn discourages investment. This can’t be allowed to happen,” Myburgh said.
The umbrella body for the hotel and hospitality industry, Fedhasa, said it was concerned about the impact crime had on the CBD as well as locals and visitors.
Cape chairperson Jeff Rosenberg said Fedhasa was actively working to reduce crime.
“We are actively seeking to reduce the opportunities for crime to occur in the first place through the formation of a public-private safety task team. We work closely with our association partners Cape Town Tourism, Satsa and SAACI.”
“This team’s collective efforts are geared towards proactive and reactive programmes including awareness, education and vigilance. As local tourism operators and associations, we will continue to work with international trade and media in alerting visitors without causing alarm, while ensuring that the overall destination experience remains safe and world class,” Rosenberg said.
Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said an increase in ATM crime was detected in the CBD and reported to his office. It appeared that tourists were being targeted.
“I requested the Economic Development Partnership to look into these trends, which resulted in the establishment of a task team to address the matter.
“An initial campaign centred around increasing awareness around ATM safety through leaflets and security presence at key locations.”
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, however, described the CBD as one of the safe places with few incidents of crime.
“We have many resources in the CBD, hence we have rare incidents.
“Private security was deployed, and additional number of law enforcement, CCID security and CCTV cameras. If we had a crime problem we wouldn’t have investment flowing and tourists visiting.”
Myburgh said all businesses need to take a critical look at the measures they had in place for the safety of their staff and customers and she was happy to see that Cash Crusaders had those measures in place.
She said that the criminals were spotted through the city’s CCTV cameras and the footage was handed over to the police.
Manager for safety & security at the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) Muneeb Hendricks said it had at least 230 full-time public safety officers on patrol 24/7.
Vendors and local businesses said they needed more security.
Mamie Lusengu ,38, a street vendor said: “We feel safe, even at night, because we know we have the presence of CCID, but my store did get robbed last week.
“Unfortunately, the CCID didn’t catch the footage of the incident because the person did it fast.
“If it was not for an eyewitness the perpetrator would have not been caught.”
Owner of Diamond Grosshandle/Wholesaler, Aviva Ezra said they were cautious as the store was at the corner and easy for people to rob them.
“We have never been robbed; we are secured with CCID footage. Many tourists often come to us after purchasing items, saying they have just been robbed. We feel the need to up our security.”
PHOTO: HOW OF VIGILANCE: CCID public safety officers patrol St George’s Mall. There are concerns that businesses, vendors and the public are at risk of a growing number of criminals targeting public spaces. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA