It’s a wrap for city trees this festive season

Heerengracht centre island’s trees are colourfully wrapped in tinsel.

In a bid to spread festive-season cheer in the city centre, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) has wrapped more than 550 trees in the colours of Christmas with sparkly tinsel and colourful fabric.

The project is done annually by the CCID’s urban management department to create a festive vibe for visitors to the city.

“We would like to remind people of the spirit of the season and promote unity and togetherness,” said CCID urban management manager Kally Benito, adding that they had also installed 120 festive-themed hanging baskets in St George’s Mall.

The trees can be seen in highly pedestrianised areas such as Thibault Square and St Georges Mall, as well as the Heerengracht meridian and along Bree, Adderley and Waterkant streets.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos said they had met with a positive response from the public.

He reminded visitors to the city centre over the holidays to stay vigilant so they did not fall prey to crime.

Festive haning baskets can be seen in St George’s Mall.

Robberies, theft, ATM fraud, bank-card scams and thefts out of cars are some of the main crimes encountered by CCID security teams, according to CCID security manger Jurie Bruwer.

“The reality is that those with criminal intent look for gaps during this time and try to make off with people’s valuables, especially cellphones.”

He cautioned against leaving cellphones unattended or in bags that aren’t closed properly. Cellphones and other valuables, including jewellery and wallets, should be kept out of sight.

“Also, be careful when texting or using your GPS in public because you lay yourself open to having your phone snatched, especially late at night when you’re trying to call an Uber or a taxi after a night out on the town. We are experiencing incidents of people standing on the pavement trying to track their Uber and having their phones snatched by grab-and-run syndicates who use cars to get away from the scene of the crime.”

Mr Bruwer said well-dressed scammers posing as security guards were getting unsuspecting visitors to reveal their bank PINs by telling them they needed a permit to walk in the street. The victims were asked to enter their PINs on ATM and building-entrance keypads, hand-held card machines and even calculators.

“Once they have your card and your PIN, they withdraw funds from your account within seconds. Please note that no one needs a permit of any kind to walk around in the Cape Town CBD.”

Leaving valuables visible in your car was inviting criminals to break into it, he said.

“Stash it, don’t flash it! Also, be vigilant when parking your car by checking that all doors are locked before you walk away. It is also preferable to stow valuables in the boot before you park and not after you do so.”

Call or WhatsApp 082 415 7127 to contact the CCID’s 24-hour control centre.