Neighbourhood watches awarded for role in fighting crime

Neighbourhood Watch members were awarded for their hard work and dedication.

The Wynberg East, and Carola neighbourhood watches were among those acknowledged for their role in the fight against crime by the City of Cape Town over the weekend.

Neighbourhood watches play a pivotal role in keeping communities safe and are often the liaison between police and residents, the City said.

In August the City of Cape town called on the public to nominate accredited neighbourhood watch members or groups who have shown exceptional performance and dedication in community safety and upliftment.

When the awards were handed out on Saturday October 23, two neighbourhood watches which operate in the area covered by Southern Mail were recognised for their sterling work.

The Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch received the Broken Windows award in recognition of their exceptional efforts towards creating a clean, healthy and safe environment by uplifting the physical appearance of an area through initiating community clean-ups of litter, graffiti and weeds on the pavement, among other things.

Neighbourhood Watches from all over the city received accolades.

Salwa Beukes, Cchairperson for the Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch said the work they did was not for recognition but because they loved Wynberg.

“We are grateful, honoured, privileged and elated. It’s a first for the Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch to be recognised in that forum and we are grateful because the broken windows programme is what we focus on in order to keep crime and other issues at a minimum – it impacts everything.”

She added that all those involved in the neighbourhood watch were passionate about the well-being of Wynberg. “We want to see a cleaner, safer community – that’ what we strive for.”

Ms Beukes encouraged residents to join the watch.

The Carola Neighbourhood Watch from Grassy Park received the Courage in Action group award for sustained neighbourhood watch operations amid a challenging community safety environment by combating gangsterism, drug activity and violence.

Chairperson Niel Jacobus was elated that they had been recognised.

“I think it is something good to be recognised. This also encourages the community to get involved with neighbourhood watches,” he said.

Mr Jacobus, who has been involved with neighbourhood watches for the past 20 years said it was not always easy doing what they did. “The awards hows that at least some poeple are taking note of the good things the communities are doing. We can’t wait for the police to do everything. We as the community also need to play our role.”

JP Smith, the City’s Mayco member for safety and security said the awards created an opportunity to acknowledge the perseverance and dedication to service excellence as well as the positive contribution that neighbourhood watches make to public safety.

“We are proud to support our neighbourhood watches and to say thank you for the important role they fulfil in the community, in supporting our enforcement agencies in our integrated efforts to build safer communities and to assist those in need.

Three groups and six individual winners were identified for this year’s awards from Mitchell’s Plain, Langa, Somerset West and Parow.