More than 100 police officers from all over the Eastern Cape have been drafted to Grahamstown and deployed every day during the Festival. The result is between 40 and 60 officers on patrol at all times. They also have air-support and mounted officers on horses.
Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender said they were “concentrating on crime prevention”. With tourists swarming into town and large amounts of cash flowing, the Festival is potentially a breeding ground for petty theft. André Wille of Hi-Tech security said that housebreaking declines during the Festival, mainly because most houses are occupied, but general theft, like handbags being stolen, “increases dramatically”.
A Village Green stall-holder, Jessica Lawson, said she was very careful with her cell phone and money, and vigilant about small items for sale in the stall. “About two stalls down a man’s cell phone was stolen. You have to be careful.”
Govender said there have been a few cases of crime that are “definitely” Festival-related. These include bag-snatching and pick-pocketing. She urged the public not to leave valuables unattended, not to leave possessions in plain view in their vehicles, and to “exercise more caution.”
Govender also emphasised the importance of drinking responsibly. She said the police were taking a zero tolerance approach and over the weekend had arrested 17 people for drunk driving.
They also had problems with drunk people walking home late at night. “We’ve been picking up young girls and driving them back to the residences, but we are not going to do that anymore.” Instead, said Govender, they would take people to the police station and release them only once they had sobered up.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
Watch more videos here
Copyright © 2015 Cue Online A Project of Rhodes University Digital Media Lab