“Residents and visitors need to play a role in combatting crime by reporting it to the police, instead of just using social media,” she says.
“No one can complain about crime if they are not prepared to take steps that help the police and prevent more people becoming victims.”
By reporting crime, a more accurate picture emerges. This helps the CPF to challenge police when too little is being done about certain crimes and helps the police motivate for more resources.
In 2015/2016 contact crimes, which include murder, sexual offences and various kinds of assault and robbery, dropped by 1.3%, from 2 378 to 2 348. Property-related crimes, such as burglaries, car theft and theft out of vehicles, also dropped by 1.5%, down from 4 706 to 4 635. In all, 17 785 crimes were reported. Jowell says these figures are lower than 10 years ago, although the CPF remains concerned about increases in robbery.
“There’s been a change in station management at Cape Town central and we have seen some positive changes.” An example of this is drug-related arrests, which are up by almost 15%. Car jamming is an issue, with the justice system struggling to prosecute cases by “not seeing it through and charging suspects with breaking into a car,” says Jowell, adding that the CPF has acquired equipment that detect these devices.
She also says crime around the Cape Peninsula University of Technology campus is not always reported. “People mostly report crime when it is insurance related. I think some crime is not being reported, because people think they won’t recover their property,” she says. Theft from cars has increased, with 68 more cases reported. Many people are negligent, Crime trends down in city centre leaving items such as jackets in plain view.
Brandon Golding, the newly elected councillor for ward 77, which includes the upper City Bowl, says that some people who lose property due to negligence also falsely report thefts out of their cars. “In some cases where someone has said their car was broken into, police have checked camera footage, and there has been no break in,” he says. False reporting wastes police time and people have been charged with perjury. The Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) covers only part of the inner city and only public spaces.
Muneeb Hendricks, CCID manager of safety and security, says there has been a decrease in all major crime categories in their footprint. “We have done a comparison between the same crime categories as of 10 years ago and we are still lower despite the huge increase in development and tourism in the CBD.
Crimes in public spaces in the CBD have decreased by 5% to 10%, compared with the same period the previous year, even though the last festive season was one of the busiest we’ve ever had in terms of visitor numbers.” The CCID aims to adjust their strategies to target stubborn crimes and opportunistic offences, like theft out of motor vehicles and common robberies.
Crime hotpots include the station deck taxi rank, Grand Parade, Long, Loop, Adderley, Strand, Lower Plein and Darling streets, St George’s Mall and informal settlements in areas of Bo-Kaap, District Six and public open spaces. Every week, the police have meetings with bodies such as the CPF and the CCID, and anti-crime campaigns are conducted with neighbourhood watches, newsletters and via social media.