Many hands make safe

2016-12-06 06:01

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Medical emergencies, car accidents, issuing fines and arresting criminals – there’s very little that doesn’t happen in the working day of a Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) public safety officer.

The CCID’s core function is to be a crime prevention unit, explains Muneeb Hendricks, CCID’s safety and security manager.

“To achieve this we deploy a visible presence of public safety officers on street level. Ultimately, we want to eliminate the opportunities to commit crime in the first place, and thus reduce the amount of crime occurring within the CCID footprint. However, as can be seen from our statistics, we have evolved to so much more,” he says.

CCID public safety officers made almost 1200 arrests with law enforcement partners during the year, but also helped with over 740 car accidents – more than two a day. They also helped over 880 members of the public with a range of issues.

“Just as an example of the many things we do: we [give directions], particularly with tourists and other visitors who are trying to find their way around town, and assist the elderly and visually impaired to cross the street. All our vehicles carry jump-start kits to help those with flat car batteries and we’ll even assist if we see someone struggling to carry heavy groceries or a heavy load to his car,” Hendricks explains.

“[At accident scenes] we secure the scene. We render any dangerous situation safe – for example, if petrol has spilt on the road. We divert oncoming traffic away from the scene to prevent further accidents.”

Medical emergenciesPublic safety officers also help with medical emergencies, such as pedestrians who are having asthma attacks, heart conditions and abdominal cramps, Hendricks says. They dealt with 550 medical call outs during the year.

“We’ve even assisted at emergency child births.

But all these little services ultimately reduce crime, Hendricks insists.

“Fighting crime is not just about arresting suspects. We have to make people less vulnerable and take away the opportunity to commit crime. Many solutions to crime do not involve sending in more security, but rather require a more creative solution to prevent it in the first place. If you concentrate on the small issues, you can more often than not take care of the larger ones that could have occurred, so our safety and security team members make a huge difference.”

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