With the summer just around the corner, holiday makers will be flocking down to the Cape in their masses. Cape Town is an entertainment hub during the summer months with thousands of international guests gracing the shores.
Cape Town was recently named the 'Best City in the World' by 21 000 UK Telegraph Travel readers. With so many visitors in the city, safety is really important,
We spoke to Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith. He gave use some safety tips for the festive season. We have called these tips 'The Five P's".
Read more about Cape Town being named the world's best city here
Smith has outlined the importance of photocopying all your important documents. Once you have done this, ensure that you keep them in a safe place.
The city is launching a safety plan from December 1 until Easter 2018.
"This plan includes a number of autonomous and integrated operations with other role players including roadblocks, roaming vehicle checkpoints, and increased visibility at all places of public interest," explains Smith.
Because of the number of visitors expected in the city, there is an increase in theft and pick-pocketing.
To avoid this, rather carry your photocopied documents with you so that if they do get stolen, you don't have to worry about dealing with municipal offices during the holiday rush.
If you are new to the city, or even if you haven't visited a spot before, make sure you prepare your excursion properly.
May sure that you map out your route correctly and make use of the local MyCiti transport system if necessary.
"All of the attractions are aware of the increase in visitors during December and January and plan accordingly, so everyone is prepared and ready."
The City of Cape Town introduced some measures over the festive season for last year. The latest list of measures hasn't been released to the public, however, Smith has confirmed that many of the measures will remain the same.
Here is a list of some of the measures that the City will be implementing:
- Increased staff levels at all beaches, other public spaces, and shopping malls;
- Ongoing roadblocks by the Integrated Roadblock Unit to clamp down on drunk driving and other violations;
- Integrated operations with the South African Police Service to combat gang violence in identified high-risk areas;
- The introduction of seasonal firefighters to assist with combating wildfires;
- Operation Exodus to monitor vehicle and driver fitness, especially for long-distance trips;
- Free vehicle safety checks;
- The use of various technological platforms like CCTV to monitor and log incidents.
Theft is rife in the city and crooks take advantage at any given opportunity. Smith reiterates the importance of vigilance in the city.
Don't walk around at night alone or venture in to places that you are unfamiliar with. Smith urges people to be careful at ATMs and don't walk around with a lot of cash.
Just last week, an international film crew was robbed at one of Cape Town's most popular National Parks. The crew, about 10 members, were approached by a knife and spade-wielding gang.
No one was hurt but all the camera equipment was stolen and the criminals were not found.
“The impact of crime on locals and visitors alike is of great concern for all. We are actively seeking to reduce the opportunities for crime such as these to take place - we want tourists and locals to be safe. Working closer with law enforcement by reporting these crimes helps track and monitor where and when incidents occur which, in turn, allows us to prioritise better interventions," explains Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy.
If it's your first time in Cape Town, it is best to travel around with someone who knows the area well. Guided tours or travel groups are a better and safer idea.
If you plan on going hiking, don't go alone. Rather organise a hiking group. National Parks are easy targets for criminals because of the vast size of the area. It would also be advisable to carry a whistle and some pepper spray if you are walking in dense terrain.
"The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Central City Improvement District (CCID), SANParks and the South African Police Service (SAPS) put increased safety measures in place for the holiday season, including increased patrols, more visible security, and a wealth of information available at central points and on websites, including emergency numbers," adds Smith.
Having a mobile device on your person at all times is vital. If you are going out for the day, make sure that you device is charged and that it is loaded with data and airtime.
Smith has also expressed the importance of emergency numbers. Visitors as well as locals should familiarize themselves with the local emergency numbers and details.
"In the lead-up to the holiday season there are meetings held to discuss various safety initiatives and to develop a cohesive visitor safety strategy with the relevant organisations and businesses with an interest in ensuring visitors have a safe experience within Cape Town."
* Visitors can contact the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialing 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.
Enjoy your stay in the Mother City, and remember to stay safe!