‘Muggers steal business’

2016-03-01 06:00

Robbers in Lower Tamboerskloof, targeting tourists between Long Street and their accommodation, have also hit a local business hard.

A guesthouse in the area has reported a dozen muggings of tourists over three months. It now stands to lose its biggest client.

Gerhard Swanepoel says American students staying in his guesthouse have been mugged in Long Street and Lower Tam­boers­kloof, which has raised concern at their university.

Swanepoel estimates the university spends around R2m in Cape Town by sending students for three-month stays.

“They’re questioning the safety of the area,” he explains.

Another guesthouse owner, who declined to be named, confirmed hearing of two muggings in the area, although neither had affected her guests.

Cape Town Central Police had not commented at the time of going to print.

Nicola Jowell, chairperson of the Cape Town Community Police Forum, says she is unaware of an increase in robberies in the area, but the organisation is concerned that the number of muggings is too high.

“Our struggle is that many people do not report incidents to the police and, as a result, the incident and crime pattern goes unrecorded. If a single establishment is reporting that its guests have been mugged so many times, then this would clearly be a massive issue that needs to be addressed, but can only be if the crimes are reported.”

Police can’t be everywhereThe police work very hard to prevent these incidents from happening but often the increase in people walking on the road at night and tourists in the area can cause an increase in crime, Jowell says.

“If we could have a police officer on every corner we would most likely see an end to muggings, but that is a reality nowhere in the world. The police regularly stop and search people acting suspiciously, but if there is nothing illegal on them then there is little that the police can do. We have an increased number of people strolling through the residential areas and this is almost impossible to police,” she says.

Jowell advises residents and visitors to follow simple safety rules to prevent crime.

“Don’t walk alone at night and never have valuables visible as you are walking the streets. Look out for anybody lurking on your road and engage with your local neighbourhood watch,” she says.


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