Growing CBD means growing crime

2017-05-23 16:50

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A motion to increase the number of traffic and law enforcement officers in ward 115 has been tabled at a recent Good Hope Subcouncil meeting.

The ward includes the Cape Town CBD, Green Point, the V&A Waterfront, De Waterkant, Woodstock, Mouille Point and Salt River.

The motion, proposed by ward councillor Dave Bryant, indicates that there is an urgent need for increased enforcement staff, as the ward has disproportionately higher levels of traffic and tourist than other parts of the city, and that the number of residential and business people has increased exponentially in the ward over the past 15 years.

The ward also experiences serious ongoing challenges relating to bylaw offences. Traffic congestion is currently being exacerbated by illegal parking and other traffic offences, the motion states.

The motion has called for “vastly increased numbers of traffic and law enforcement officers involved in proactive activities to address ongoing traffic and bylaw offences”.

Green Point Residents and Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Jenny McQueen says the area has been “very short staffed” over the last year.

“There is definitely a need to up the numbers. However, I do feel there is a general shortage in Cape Town as a whole, so perhaps [the City of Cape Town] should look at the bigger picture. Having said that, areas like Green Point, Mouille Point, the Waterfront and the CBD are major tourist attractions and the safety in these areas is paramount.”

City officials had not commented at the time of going to print.

McQueen adds that one of the major problems residents experience is traffic congestion.

“With increased events happening in Green Point the whole area becomes impossible with congested traffic, road closures and people parking just anywhere, so certainly law enforcement should help with that,” she says.

Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the Cape Town Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID), agrees that there is a need for more law enforcement officers in the CBD.

“There has been a significant increase in the night-time economy and therefore the numbers of people in town – and throughout the CBD – after hours,” he says.

“We have also seen an increase in residential numbers in town, as well as in the numbers of tourists in general coming into and staying in the CBD. All of this collectively accounts for more activity on the streets, and more activity also means that two things that require law enforcement can increase: The possibility of more crime and the possibility of inappropriate public behaviour.”

The CCID has also noted an increase in traffic and the need to regulate this, says Evangelinos.

“But we would like to add that it is not just law enforcement: The increasing influx of people into the CBD also puts an enormous strain on other amenities and facilities and so there is also an increasing demand for other extended council services, around the clock, in other areas such as waste management or the provision of amenities such as public toilets.”

Evangelinos expects the influx into the CBD to continue to increase not only as the MyCiTi bus system rolls out to its full extent, and with the proposed development of the foreshore freeway precinct bringing in 4000 more residential units. The Waterfront is also expanding towards the city centre, and there are increasing developments and demands being placed on all other areas surrounding the city centre, he says.

“One must remember that law enforcement is not just about arrests, issuing fines and providing a visible presence on the ground so that the opportunity to commit crime does not present itself. It’s also about managing law abidance in terms of who we are as a society. Law enforcement deals with many other challenges such as illegal dumping, checking the appropriate licences for formal and informal businesses and conducting inspections. Law enforcement is vital for the day-to-day management of a city centre, and when that centre is growing so does the need for law enforcement.”

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