Crime 'dropped 56.6%' in Cape Town's CBD during lockdown

01 May 2021 - 16:57 By philani nombembe
The Cape Town Central Improvement District says crime inner city dropped by more than half during the lockdown.
The Cape Town Central Improvement District says crime inner city dropped by more than half during the lockdown.
Image: iSTOCK

Crime in the Cape Town CBD dropped by more half since SA was put under various levels of lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID), formed through public-private partnership to fight crime in the inner city, compared cases it recorded between March 2020 and March 2021 with those reported between March 2019 and March 2020.

It found that inner city crime had dropped by 56.5%.

CCID safety and security manager Muneeb Hendricks said the “the number of incidents across the CCID’s five top crime categories fell from 1,624 cases to only 705 cases in this time frame”. He attributed the drop in crime to “successful implementation of a preventive deployment strategy during lockdown” and collaboration between police and city law enforcement.  

Hendricks said the CCID had more than 300 security officers who patrolled a 1.6 km² footprint in the city 24 hours a day.

“Our initial focus at the start of lockdown was to protect properties, people and possessions in the Cape Town CBD. But lockdown has been a rollercoaster ride of constantly changing procedures. If we had stagnated and just done the same thing, I don’t think we would have managed to maintain the CBD in the way we that we did,” said Hendricks.

He said his charges were immediately on high alert when “full lockdown hit on March 26 2020. In the first three days, there were seven attempted break-ins, but the team was ready and apprehended all 14 suspects. This sent a strong message and break-in attempts went down to zero during this period.”

Hendricks said as the lockdowns eased, the team shifted its focus to entertainment areas, specifically restaurants and shops. They did residential checks, escorts for people navigating less busy streets and security for business owners at opening and closing times. “We wanted to create an extra feeling of safety so people could come and open up the economy again,” he said.

Hendricks said the biggest crime category during level one lockdown was antisocial behaviour. 

“Aggressive begging, drug use and drinking in public still dominated. Once lockdown eased and more people came back to town, the focus went back to contact crimes, theft out of vehicles and common robbery [mostly pickpocketing],” he said.  

“We rely on a proper deployment strategy based on intelligence, crime statistics, our incidence reporting system, telephonic complaints and observations. We map these factors, so the system can show us patterns. This allows us to deploy resources smartly to the correct areas at the right times.”

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos said: “During this past year, it was imperative for the CCID to engage with our stakeholders and work closely with our primary partners so that we could effectively attend to new crime issues as a matter of urgency. By working together, we have worked wonders in the Cape Town CBD.”