The crime rate in Cape Town's Central Business District was slashed by up to 46 percent in the first four months of this year since the implementation of a city improvement district in November last year.
This was announced by Michael Farr, chief executive officer of The Cape Town Partnership, who released the figures hours after Safety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete lifted the government's moratorium on crime statistics yesterday.
The Cape Town Partnership is a Section 21 company in which business and the Cape Town unicity are stakeholders. On November 1 last year it implemented a city improvement district in the central business district, dividing it into nine precincts or sectors.
Property owners in the area pay 9,5 percent more rates to top up existing municipal services like cleansing, security and marketing of the city.
The figures, compiled for the partnership by the city's Community Patrol Board, under which police reservists patrolling the streets fall, show crime on the Foreshore is down by 46 percent compared to the first three months of last year.
This reflects a significant drop in crimes like assault, shop-lifting, drunkenness, housebreaking, robbery and possession of stolen property.
According to Farr, so-called petty offences like gambling, riotous behaviour and drinking in public made up 95% of crime in the city centre and serious ones involving a threat to life, like robbery and assault, only 5%.
Unicity mayor Peter Marais said he was grateful for the reduction in crime levels.
"We will deliver on our promise to make Cape Town a living hell for criminals. We have started in the city centre, but we will take the fight to the suburbs and end by cornering them in the heart of Bishop Lavis and Manenberg," he said.
Marais said the unicity was in the process of training 500 community police officers to guard the city. There were also plans to spend R8 million on expanding the city's closed-circuit television camera system and - with the police, provincial government and the department of justice - to open eight new municipal courts for R8m more to enforce by-laws.
Farr said the statistics showed that the city centre had turned the corner in the fight against crime as a result of the cameras, more visible policing, mounted and foot patrols by community patrol officers and private security companies.
The city's closed-circuit cameras, monitored from a control room on the Foreshore, and supported by city improvement security officers, is seen as one of the principal reasons for crime levels declining.
The city improvement district employs 129 municipal and eight mounted patrol officers in the different precincts. Another 40 community police officers are provided by the unicity.
Farr said there were moves to extend the city improvement district to peripheral areas like Sea Point, Camps Bay, Oranjezicht and Higgovale.
He said statistics for the first three months of last year compared to this year in the nine precincts of the CBD were: