Cape Town Safety?

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Jan 22nd, 2005, 01:45 PM
  #1
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Cape Town Safety?

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_i...1354524C862172

Are most of the recent attacks on Tourists in the Western Cape in places where tourists, perhaps, should have exercised more caution?

In this most linked story, a British businessman was not even safe from the short distance between the taxi to the front door of the guesthouse where he was staying in Gordon's Bay. I am not familiar with Gordon Bay, so I really have no idea if this happened in the "wrong part of town" or not.

In the other incidents that occurred just this week listed later in the same story, two Polish men in their 30's were attacked in a place called "Buitensingel", another place which is foreign to me.

Other recent incidents include attacks on Table Mountain, although I am not sure if these attacks were along the trails or actually atop Table Mountain in the areas where people would be after taking the tram up the mountain.

I am getting concerned because my wife, my mother and my sister will be on their own in Cape Town for four nights while I visit Simbambili in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve after we all return to South Africa from our Zambian safari. While I intend to have a guide with them for a couple of those days, I am sure there are other times that they will be on their own. I will only join them for the final three nights in Cape Town.

Since I am renting a luxury apartment right on the Waterfront, I am not overly concerned, but, then again, I don't know if the Waterfront has been completely safe.

Selwyn or anybody else familiar with what is happening, will you please clue me in. Thanks.
Roccco is offline  
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 02:22 PM
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Roccco,

Its imho the good old story of media hype.

The two Polish men were attacked in Buitensingle street. Not only tourists BUT EVERY Capetonian is warned not too walk in the area late at night as it is frequented by the wrong sorts of people. So what would two young Polish visitors be trying to achieve by walking in the area at 04h00 in the morning?

The British visitor in Gordons Bay and the two attacks on the Table Mountain walking trail were also reported recently. With regard to the last 2 Table Mountain attacks a man has been apprehended and jailed. Furthermore police patrols in the Table Mountain, Signal Hill area have been stepped up quite radically and since then nothing has occurred. I was on Signal Hill yesterday and there were 8 visisble policemen patrolling the area. Another point to mention is that the people who were attacked on the Table Mountain trail were all walking on their own. Thats breaking the first rule to start with before they even started out!

The attack on the British citizen could well have been any local person. Make no error crime does occur in Cape Town but please tell me where it does not occur. The only problem is that when it occurs in Cape Town and it happens to a tourist then the media goes crazy with lights and headlines flashing everywhere. One would think that every crime indicent that takes place happens because the visitor has a sign saying "tourist" hanging around their neck meaning easy target. What hogwash! Crime is crime and it will happen to Joe Citizen or Joe Foreigner. The only factor that both these targets have in common is that they have lowered their guard.

With that all said any vistor travelling to any town, let alone Cape Town, should simply watch their back no matter what and always be on the alert. Thats the best that you could do and if you dont do this then you could become one of the few reportd cases like the above 4 attacks out of our 4 mllion tourists per year that come to our city. If you ask me your chances of problem with those type of satatistics make Los Angeles a much more dangerous place to visit than Cape Town yet I have not heard anyone shouting "dont go to LA because it is dangerous".

Beware of media hype and in a nutshell Roccco rest assured STD has a phenomenally good chance (millions to one) of having a wonderful, safe stay in Cape Town.

Just my twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 03:51 PM
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I am not in Cape Town at the moment but I talk to my family there a few times a week so I have a good sense of what's happening.

In 2004, there were 4.5 million visitors to Table Mountain. Less than 10 crimes on the mountain were reported! Unfortunately, one the recent serious crimes included the rape of an Austrian lady - so there is reason why these events make the headlines - as well it should.

South Africans have learned to live with crime. My family have very sophisticated security systems on their properties. Yet, they still get their cars stolen from time to time and they all have crime stories to share - mostly petty crime but still.

So we cannot sugarcoat the facts. Anyone is vulnerable - local or tourist - for example, there is an increase in robberies by so-called "parking attendants" in the touristy areas of the Western Cape! This does not happen on the mall in DC and the Chinese Theater in LA - so it is not a fair to compare CT with LA!

The good news is that the local authorities are very aware of the negative impact of bad press. But with small budgets, it is mostly the local population and neighborhood support systems that are most effective against crime - using emergency cell numbers, etc.

This is why local knowledge is so important anywhere in South Africa - my parents retired in Mossel Bay and when I visit they make very sure that I know what's going on along the Garden route before I depart from Cape Town - for example, no night-driving. If your car breaks down on the N2 you are very vulnerable.

Nevertheless, there has never been evidence of organized attempts to target visitors.

I disagree with Selwyn about the "hype" aspect. Everything in that article is true and when you take into account the recent rape and other crimes, there is reason to be concerned - and my family certainly feels that crime is a serious matter in South Africa and appreciates any attention to the problem.

I agree with Selwyn that Cape Town is the best city in the world and that crime should not stop anyone from going there. Just take the normal rules of safe travel a bit more seriously in wonderful South Africa.
Eben
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 07:20 PM
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Last Summer, we stopped over in CT after a Zambian Safari. We spent 10 days, via rental car touring the Cape Town area. Spent three days at a B&B in Green Point area. We walked everywhere. Even at night, like from the waterfront to our B&B. The only time I felt uncomfortable was a daylite walk downtown. Some glue-sniffing kids hasseled us for money. That was it. We then drove out to Ariniston on Cape Arglis. A real getaway. Then to DeHoop National Park for very remote whale watching,we had the entire park to ourselves. Then up the Garden Route to Knysna. That was our favorite. Then a few days spent back to Cape Town via the Little Karoo and wine country. We never had a lick of problem. If you ask most Americans why they don't vacation to RSA, they tell you that they are afraid of crime. Good! I want the place to my self. I've been to RSA three times, even drove around Jo'burg in a rental car with no problems. Maybe I'm lucky. The RSA gov't is very worried about this bad image. They want a good turn out for the world cup games there in a few years. So, I think they will put a big effort into cleaning up their immage. I was interviewed buy a rep from the Cape Town tourist org while waiting to board my flight home. They asked me why more Gringos don't travel there. She said that most worry about crime.

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Jan 22nd, 2005, 08:26 PM
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Eben,

Nobody said that the published website article was untrue. Obviously it is 100% true. What I am trying to say is that if the same criminal events took place with the difference being that the affected people were locals and not tourists it would'nt even make the middle pages of the newspaper, however when it is a tourist that is affected it becomes media hype and makes page 1. I also want to add that it does not always make page 1 let alone any pages even if it is a tourist who is the unfortunate victim as the hype will be totally dependant on what other news is available to fill the first couple of pages of the newpaper. I reiterare my statement when it comes to safety and security of "beware of media hype"!

Just a comment about so the called car guards that you speak of Eben. These people do NOT represent a danger of any sorts. If ever there was a myth then thats it. To some people they might look as if they are dangerous (would they be sen as dangerous if they were white??? methinks not) however I am still to hear of any case where a car guard was the criminal when a person returned to their car etc. I find it amazing that when I tour with Norwegian and Sweidsh tourists, whom I find to be some of the most wonderfully liberally minded people in the world,, they have absolutely no fear of car guards purely because they see them as ordinary people doing a job. They do not see them as dangerous black, homeless people trying to inflict crime; that is a South Africanism which dates back to our unfortunate past and is all a case of being a horrendous fabrication within the human mind.

Just my twopence worth

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
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Jan 22nd, 2005, 11:40 PM
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Selwyn,

You are probably right about the hype. I know that I would not be out past a certain hour in literally half of my native Los Angeles! Plus, it looks like a lot of the bad things that are happening are more in the downtown area, rather than at the Waterfront or in your neck of the woods, Camps Bay, for example.

I may be naive, but I just don't see the Waterfront area as being dangerous...I mean the place I am considering is adjacent to the Cape Grace where security must be at its very best. Plus, they will likely hire a car and driver rather than go with random taxis (one of the incidents I read about recently stated that it appeared as if the cab driver and the predators were in on the crime together).

Thanks for the feedback.
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Jan 23rd, 2005, 04:39 AM
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Hmmm, Selwyn there is no need to bring up the race issue here. It has no role in this discussion.

I just want to stick to the facts.

Both the Japannese lady who was stabbed at Table mountain and the Austrian lady who was raped, thought that they were being approached by parking attendants. They let their guard down and got attacked.

So, while the majority of parking attendants (of any race) are spirited people just trying to earn a living, a few criminals are taking advantage of this by posing as attendants - proving once again that you must remain vigilant at all times. As a tourist, these are the things you should know to ensure you have an incident free holiday.

The V&A Waterfront is indeed a very safe area. So are most of the areas most often visited by tourists.

But before you go off to explore an area on your own, it is always best to have a quick check with the locals at your hotel or B&B.
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May 3rd, 2005, 08:31 AM
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Thank you everyone for your impute on the issue of safety in Cape Town. Having traveled a great deal I realize that you need to make prudent decisions and know your surroundings as it relates to personal safety. Being informed is the key to making the right decisions.
That said, we are staying at the V&L (Loader St) near the Waterfront. Is it best to cab at night between our apartment and the waterfront or can one walk with reasonable safety.
We would like to spend our first day in Cape town on foot, seeing the sights around town. From our venue, on a weekday is there any place in particular that we should not go on foot?

11 days and counting...
Brenda
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May 11th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Recently I met three young white women who had left Cape Town to live in Ireland. All three of them had been careful but each had been a victim of a violent attack and felt that they had to leave their own country. I enjoyed my own trip to South Africa and the view from the top of Table Mountain is spectacular.
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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I just got back from Cape Town. In my opinion it is like any international city. You do need to exercise caution. I was travelling with my 5 year old daughter and really did not feel any concern during the day. Obviously we weren't out late in the evening. We did walk around the downtown area on a Sunday afternoon and it was fine. I wouldnt want to walk around there at night (but then I also would not want to do that in downtown LA).
The Waterfront is completely safe day or night and could be in California. It is very nice but in my opinion is a million miles from Africa. Spent some time there but prefer the other areas of Cape Town.
I am now strongly considering leaving California and moving to Cape Town. I wouldn't consider this if I considered Cape Town dangerous.
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Jul 18th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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Three of us, two women in their sixties and one 40 year old woman spent four days Capetown two years ago. We were out in the waterfront area often in the evening and felt perfectly safe. We all live in cities here in the US and exercised the same caution we would have had we been out in the evenings where we each live. We don't carry purses, we wear inconspicious clothing, and stay together.

We get the same kind of stories about Florida. One tourist gets robbed and you would think everyone was in constant danger. The media have to report, but we don't have to be scared every time we read about some singular event.

We would return to Capetown in a heart beat...I would never let these reports stop me from seeing some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
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