From the CapeTowner, 6th September 2012
Officers from the Cape Town Central police station expressed their dismay when only three people turned up for their imbizo, even though notices were sent to the role players. Central City Improvement District (CCID) security manager, Muneeb Hendricks, said he was dismayed at the turnout after sending out more than 100 invitations by email.
“These meetings are important because they give the community an opportunity to liaise directly with police about their concerns. Over the past few years, I have noticed that when things are going well, few people attend,” he said. Mr Hendricks also said there was a shift in crime in the CBD from “major crimes” to “social crimes”. The police precinct covers the CBD, De Waterkant, Gardens, Vredehoek, Higgovale, Bo-Kaap and Oranjezicht, among other areas. However, the imbizo was held to discuss crime in various parts of the CBD including the central city, the Forsehore, the Grand Parade and the station deck.
Station Commander Brigadier Kolindhren Govender expressed his dissatisfaction at the turnout and said officers went out of their way to be there. “Cape Town Central is a very busy station and we need the community to come on board and raise their concerns with us about crime. “On average, more than 450 000 people come and go in to the CBD every day. “It is a very different police precinct in that we cover the residential areas, Table Mountain and the entire CBD. “In the CBD, we manage more than 600 liquor outlets and one only has to drive down Long Street on a Friday or Saturday night to see the problems we have to deal with,” Brigadier Govender said.
Geoff Madsen of the Long Street Residents‘ Association (LSRA) said he didn’t attend because he received no notification of the meeting. Mr Madsen said he attended previous imbizos and found them useful. “In my opinion the biggest crime problem is snatching of handbags, and drugs. A while ago my wife’s bag was stolen at Mojito in Long Street and we reported it to the police. They came to our apartment and weren’t very helpful. We then called our sector commander, Sergeant Clifford Saunders, who came out and helped us to report the case,” he said.
Responding to questions posed by the CapeTowner on the attendance at meetings, Gert Coetzee, a member of the De Waterkant Civic Association, said he was not surprised by the low attendance at the imbizo. “By scheduling a meeting with the public for a Thursday morning, the police commander was sure to exclude most of the community in the CBD and surrounds most residents are at work then. “The same goes for the Community Police Forum meetings – held during work hours,” Mr Coetzee said.
When asked whether the police had considered scheduling the meetings at a more suitable time for residents, Brigadier Govender said: “The arrangement with CPF, security roleplayers and Business of Cape Town CBD is for meetings to be held during business hours and community members will attend evening Imbizos.” Speaking on general crime trends in the CBD, visible police commander, Colonel Pierre Laubscher said dealing with crime in the CBD was a complex issue. “In the city, you find a little bit of everything.
This precinct cannot be compared to areas such as Mitchell’s Plain, where crimes are often gang related. A few months ago, we had a shooting outside the courts in Keerom Street and that was gang related. The city also never sleeps. We have to monitor what happens all the time,” he said. Colonel Laubscher said in the past month, 14 motorbikes were stolen in the precinct and in some cases, arrests were made before the vehicles were reported as stolen. He also said that thefts out of motor vehicle were a concern.
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