Residents urged to join neighbourhood watches

The neighbourhood watch patrols courts in Lavender Hill.

A metro-wide recruitment drive kicked off last week to encourage people to become members of their local neighbourhood watches.

Across the metro there are more than 50 000 watch members who have a vital crime prevention resource in communities and on Saturday 6 February Mayor Dan Plato and JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security for the City of Cape Town began a series community Neighbourhood Watch support visits which started in wards 67 and 68 which includes Lavender Hill and parts of Seawinds.

They joined the Southern Eye watch group and walked to hot spots in Lavender Hill and Seawinds with ward councillors Marita Petersen and Gerry Gordon.

Ward 68 Councillor Marita Petersen looks on at Frere Court in Lavender Hill.

Mr Plato said the 50 000 city-wide neighbourhood watch members realise the significance of being active members in their communities: “They dedicate their time to help make neighbourhoods safer. Preventing crime requires a whole-of-society approach and these residents are aware of the contribution they can make in uplifting their surroundings. Visibility is so important and we wanted to give added support to neighbourhood watch groups to emphasise the work they do in their communities.”

He added that the City appreciates their efforts.

Mayor Dan Plato, Ward 67 councillor Gerry Gordon and Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.

The visits also form part of a plan to directly engage residents on any service delivery issues that they are facing and need assistance with and during the patrol, residents are encouraged to highlight any issues which need our urgent attention.

The City alo handed over twelve LED torches and 80 reflective bibs to Southern Eye to bolster their patrolling efforts.

The walk was also to encourage further growth of NHW groups.

Mr Smith said without neighbourhood watches, crime would be worse in hot spot areas.

“The neighbourhood watches are our eyes and ears by helping the City’s drug task team and police Anti-Gang Unit take more effective action by knowing where to target interventions. There’s a great deal of training and development that we are doing with our neighbourhood watches; we provide them with the necessary equipment and also recruit them into the Auxiliary Services in Law Enforcement”.

Neighbourhood watch members can also become members of the Volunteer Law Enforcement Auxiliary Service (LEAS). In 2013, the Safety and Security Directorate launched LEAS, with prospective volunteers encouraged to first join their local neighbourhood watch before being recruited as a LEAS volunteer.

During the patrol with the Southern Eye Neighbourhood Watch, law enforcement officers confiscated four weapons, including two makeshift knives. No arrests were made.

The public can anonymously report any suspicious activity to the Public Emergency Communication Centre on 021 480 7700 from a cellphone, or 107 from a landline. Complaints of non-compliance with Covid-19 regulations can be directed to the City’s compliance hotline on 021 444 3582.