With the festive season just around the corner, Lotus River neighbourhood watches are uniting to fight crime.
Joining forces should be a top priority, believes Neil Jacobus, chairperson of Carola Neighbourhood Watch, one of the bigger neighbourhood watches in the area.
The neighbourhood watches active in Lotus River include Green Light, Klip, Buck Inn, Nita, Red Zone and 6th Street.
“We all meet every three weeks then we talk about how we can help each other and we give each other advice,” said Mr Jacobus.
He pointed to arrests made due to the combined efforts by neighbourhood watches. These involved arrests for house and car break-ins and robberies.
In one case in mid-September, police were alerted after neighbourhood watch members saw a man and woman hiding something under a bush in Parkwood. After an investigation, C7.65 firearm with a serial number was found, with one magazine and four rounds of ammunition.
In another incident, on Friday September 16, said Mr Jacobus, the Green Light Neighbourhood watch were on patrol when they called them for back-up after they spotted robbers at a house whose owners had gone on holiday (“Watch aims to transform neighbourhood”, Southern Mail, June 29).
“Many of our neighbourhood watches responded, such as Carola, Buck Road, Klip and Duiker. A man ran into Zeekoe Road and he was found after neighbourhood watch members surrounded the area,” said Mr Jacobus.
On Friday October 14, builders alerted Carola Neighbourhood Watch members about a break-in at a house in Irene Road.
One of the thieves attempted to flee by climbing onto the roof of a house.
The police were alerted and they found the man hiding in a granny flat.
Warrant Officer Wynita Klein-smith, spokesperson for Grassy Park police confirmed that a 25-year-old man had been arrested on charges of housebreak-in. He had been hiding under a bed at the flat.
Mr Jacobus thanked the sector managers of Grassy Park police for their “swift response”.
In one of the latest cases, a man was arrested after another man was robbed of his cellphone on Saturday October 29, in Second Avenue.
“He was hiding in one resident’s property and he was arrested by the neighbourhood watch.”
Also on Saturday October 29, a man broke into a neighbourhood watch member’s car and stole a radio but no one has been arrested.
Mr Jacobus said there had been many other robberies where people were robbed of cellphones and money but “the victims do not report the crime”.
He urged people to learn who their neighbourhood watch members were and to alert them about crime.
“We also want youth to stop walking around with their cellphones in their hands,” said Mr Jacobus.
He said neighbourhood watches hear first-hand about many community issues. These include many elderly people going missing.
“One particular elderly man was reported missing on Thursday October 27. We searched the area after reading about the details of the man.
“Fortunately the man found his way home. He suffers from Alzheimer’s.”
Mr Jacobus suggested that families of those with Alzheimer’s disease make them wear an identity bracelet or chain with their telephone numbers in case they get lost.
Mr Jacobus also appealed to the community to join their local neighbourhood watch. It is easy to approach your local member for information.
“We are all wearing a name tag on a green jacket,” he said.