An increase in the volumes of crime reports along Table Mountain has caused SANParks has tightened its security measures to ensure the safety of all its visitors this festive season.
“There has been an increase in robberies and violent attacks on our visitors so we have increased security visibility this festive season to make Table Mountain a safer place,” says SANPARKS spokesperson Merle Collins.
Table Mountain Safety Forum (TMSF) will be strictly monitoring mountain users coming in and out of the facility conducting ID checks and fingerprinting suspicious people once on the premises. The Forum includes SAPS, security, Metro police, the MEC for Community Safety and the Mayoral Committee member for safety and security.
“Co-operation between parties in the forum had already resulted in increased visible policing, and faster, more coordinated responses to incidents,” says Collins.
The aim with the crime prevention measure is to reduce crime on the mountain trail. This came about after a spate of robberies occurred while hikers were heading up the mountain trail. By increasing security visibility, the national park hopes to ensure the safety of visitors.
“Attackers are stripping everyone from their belongings whether they are from Cape Town or a tourist and this is bad for business as it makes people not want to visit the site,” says Collins.
Most recently, two students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) visited the trail and were brutally attacked then stripped of all their possessions. The working of the TMSF helped to secure the arrest of the suspects involved. The robberies have been instilling fear in tourists sweeping them away from the tourist attraction.
“People fear for their lives because of these attacks,” says Collins.
The security measure has improved the response time to reports of suspicious activity. Over the festive season, 14 police station commanders bordering the park, SANParks rangers, metro police, city law enforcement and other safety officials will remain in constant contact to report and address risks to safety.
“Very visible policing will take place during the festive season. One of our preventive crime measures is finger printing visitors just to do identity checks,” says Collins.
There will be an increase of patrols on foot, horseback and in all-terrain vehicles.
“SANParks continued to operate its 24-hour patrol in the park. More than 150 rangers patrolled in the day with dedicated service dogs. A smaller patrol operated at night,” says Collins.
Park officials have been deployed to the joint operations centre to assist with location confirmation. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)