December 2015 saw the deployment of 10 law enforcement officers dedicated to the upper end of Long Street (between Wale & Buitensingle Street). This is a collaborative effort between Long Street business owners, the CCID and the City of Cape Town.
Some Long Street businesses, particularly those open at night, have taken the initiative to fund the 10 law enforcement officers. The primary focus is to make Long Street safe ensuring people can enjoy themselves this season. The paying members footing the R60.000+ bill are: Stones, SGT Pepper, Cafe Mojito, Royale Eatery, Bob’s Bar, Fiction, Beerhouse, The Dubliner, Long Street Cafe, Bagdad Cafe, Buena Vista Social Club and Homebase Backpackers Cape Town with additional priceless support from CCID and Saunders Attorneys.
Businesses paying for dedicated law enforcement, in a particular area, is a first in South Africa, which shows the commitment of these businesses ensuring Long Street remains the fun, party hub of Cape Town. Issues that will be addressed by Law Enforcement Officers are as follows: traffic & parking violations, pickpocketing & muggings, noise violations, solicitation of drugs etc.
After the first two weekends in action the feedback of the participating businesses has been overly positive, with Dominique Gawlowski of Fiction bar saying “I am so far really pleased with their performance. I have seen a significant drop in presence of the usual bad element hanging around.”
Improving Long Street’s safety & security is part of a broader initiative in establishing a Long Street Association. Moving forward the Association intends to ensure Long Street is safe, friendly and vibey (for locals & visitors) by improving pedestrianisation; public lighting; hosting public events etc.
To be sustainable the Association will need all businesses to join ensuring a collective approach to positive change on Long Street. It will also open itself to other stakeholders, besides businesses, who are based on Long Street, i.e. residents, property owners, religious institutions, day time retail etc. The Long Street Association is also looking to hire a full-time project manager to run the association and a law firm to help formalise the association.