Good times attract crimes

2016-12-13 06:01

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As the Mother City ushered in the festive season with the annual switching on of the festive lights celebration, law enforcement agencies were kept busy keeping the audience safe.

Around 100 000 people attended the event, which spread out from Grand Parade and Adderley Street.

To ensure attendees were kept safe, the City of Cape Town’s safety and security directorate dedicated 300 staff members to the event – from Metro Police and Traffic Services to Law Enforcement, says JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security.

“In addition, the disaster risk management centre had 50 volunteers on duty and 300 private security guards were brought in by the City’s events team,” he says.

However, this did not deter citizens from breaking the law.

“Law Enforcement officers confiscated more than 1670 bottles and cans of alcohol during the event. Drinking in public is a violation of the City’s bylaws.

“Officers also made four arrests – one for assault on a peace officer and three for being drunk in public.”

Local police also had their hands full, despite having 110 officers working at the celebration and another 59 public order officers on duty.

The officers made three arrests for assault, 11 for possession of dagga, five for possession of other drugs and three for riotous behaviour, confirms Cape Town Central police spokesperson Captain Ezra October.

Four people were arrested for theft, another one for theft out of a car and six for robbery.

There were three arrests for possession of a dangerous weapon, three for public drunkenness and two for drunken driving.

Most of these crimes are opportunistic, Smith says.

“It stands to reason that a big crowd will attract would-be criminals looking to pounce on unsuspecting members of the public. The key to managing such events and ensuring the safety of people in attendance is effective visible policing that is well coordinated, but also for the public to be aware of their surroundings at all times and to be vigilant,” he says.

“An event of this magnitude will never be without incident, but as can be seen by the turnout, crime is obviously not a deterrent to the public – the overwhelming majority of whom are law-abiding residents who are simply out to have a good time.”

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