3 crimes you should know about over the holiday period in South Africa

 ·23 Dec 2023

The Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) has alerted the public to exercise caution during the festive season due to the occurrence of petty crimes. They have offered advice on preventing such incidents and supplied an emergency contact number for assistance.

The CCID noted that this message is to local, national, and international visitors to the Mother City’s dynamic city centre over the holiday period.

“We encourage holidaymakers to come into town to enjoy everything the Cape Town CBD has to offer, from the excellent, award-winning eateries, restaurants, coffee shops and cocktail lounges to the myriad cultural attractions including the museums, historic walks as well as the many niche retailers and interesting art galleries,” said CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos.

“There is a lot to see and do, day and night, and while we welcome visitors to our Central City, we would like to remind them that they need to be vigilant and use their common sense so that they don’t fall victim to petty crime,” he added.

CCID Safety & Security operates in a 1.6 km square footprint in the Cape Town CBD with its partners, the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement agencies and SAPS, to maintain a high police presence and a stable environment.

According to CCID Safety & Security Manager Jurie Bruwer, the group has noted three main crime categories members of the public need to know about this December:

1. Cell phone theft

Cell phone theft, through pickpocketing, common robbery, and snatch-and-grab scenarios, is prevalent.

“Please do not leave your cell phone unattended or in a handbag that isn’t zipped up properly. Also, be careful when texting or using your GPS in public because you lay yourself open to having your phone snatched, especially late at night when you’re trying to call an Uber or a taxi after a night out on the town.

“We are experiencing incidents of people standing on the pavement trying to track their Uber and having their phones snatched by grab-and-run syndicates who use cars to get away from the scene of the crime,” said Bruwer.

2. ATM and other card scams

ATM and other card scams are also taking place in the CBD and surrounding precincts.

“Well-dressed scammers are committing fraud by luring visitors to an ATM or any other keypad – even hand-held devices like calculators – and convincing people that they need a permit to walk in the street and this permit can be obtained at an ATM or from a hand-held “card device” or a building entrance keypad if the visitor typed in their bank PIN.

“The scammers pose as well-dressed security guards, so don’t be fooled. Once they have your card and your PIN, they withdraw funds from your account within seconds. Please note that no one needs a permit of any kind to walk around in the Cape Town CBD.”

3. Theft out of motor vehicle and vehicle jamming

Theft out of motor vehicle and vehicle jamming is common. “Please do not leave valuables inside your car on the seats where they can be seen by opportunistic criminals as you lay yourself open to having your car broken into.

Also, be vigilant when parking your car by checking that all doors are locked before you walk away. It is also preferable to stow valuables in the boot before you park and not after you do so, said Bruwer.

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