The City of Cape Town has warned that there will be more “boots on the ground” as it ramps up its public safety plan for the festive season. Next to drunk driving, offences like theft, robbery, possession of stolen goods and drugs account for many of the arrests made last December.
On Sunday, the City rolled out its festive season safety plan and are conducting their final checks before the city is flooded with tourists. The City’s Alderman JP Smith says they “will be able to do quite a bit more than previous years” as far as safety and security are concerned and that they are looking at placing extra staff in the CBD as well as on mountains to curb crime.
“This is the time of the year when we roll out quite a lot of additional resources to ensure that we can handle the influx of people to our beaches, the increased volumes of traffic and the changing crime patterns,” said Smith.
‘For most of the year, we do public safety and enforcement in a particular way, but the holidays see a shift in trends and behaviour that we need to plan for. We would like to assure the public that we have their best interests at heart, but that we need them to work with us to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others..”
Smith indicated that beaches become a focal point for the City during the festive season but added that this year’s job would be easier thanks to the additional resources provided to safety efforts in the city.
“Beaches become a major part of the focus for the City and this year that job is going to be a little easier because of all the resources the mayor gave us… we will be able to do quite a bit more than we were able to do in previous years.”
He explained that the City will deploy more effectively at swimming pools, recreational facilities and for beach patrols.
The increase in resources has always been sorely needed, due to the protracted period of celebration beginning in November and ending around April the following year.
The City will make use of helicopters for policing and traffic enforcement purposes in addition to the usual enforcement activities that accompany the holiday period. Smith says that the City is also looking to get extra boots on the ground to respond more efficiently to hotspots and other crimes.
Operationally, the Safety and Security Directorate chairs a multi-agency festive season coordination committee that meets regularly from October, with increased frequency in preparation for priority days during the festive season.
The committee is made up of representatives from a host of City departments, but also external agencies like the South African Police Service, the National Sea Rescue Institute, Emergency Medical Services and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.
‘This is a mammoth undertaking because of the many demands that the festive season presents. Our operational readiness plan, combined with the years of experience represented at our coordinating committee meetings, as well as on the ground in the areas where we need them, have served us well.