More feet on the ground are needed for more impact, said Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) chairperson, Salwa Beukes.
The woman-led neighbourhood watch has been in existence for a number of years and has been at the forefront of fighting crime and social ills in the area.
Some of the problem areas include the Wynberg Transport Interchange, which has been a problem vagrant, drug peddling and robbery hot spot.
Last week the watch was joined for a walk-about to problem areas in the community by Mayor Dan Plato, Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith and Ward 63 councillor, Monty Oliver, in an effort to bolster membership by encouraging residents to join the neighbourhood watch.
They met on the evening of Thursday February 25 and went to problem buildings, drug dens, the Wynberg interchange, the village of tents and makeshift shelters on the slope of the Broad Road bridge and what used to be a vagrant spot in Brisbane Road.
Law enforcement, Metro police, police and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and the Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch removed the Brisbane Road tents a few months ago but vagrants moved their tents to the bridge.
Ms Beukes said she was motivated to join the watch because of an increase in mugging and break-ins.
“Here in Wynberg, another challenge is drug dealing and visibility is a simple, but important, way to prevent crime. The beautiful part of belonging to a watch is that you see the tangible results of your efforts to improve the community you live in.”
She said more resources and support need to be made available to the watch and pleaded for more people to join: “I work a full-time job but I still make time to patrol and do what I can to keep our neighbourhood safe. We’re only 34 members and a lot of us are older and over the age of 60. We need younger people to join and prepare them to tackle the issues we have in Wynberg.”
Mr Smith said problem buildings pointed out by the group is one of 44 properties that have been handed over for intervention by the courts: “It’s interesting to see how this neighbourhood watch has adapted. One hears that law enforcement is here doing their job; we have had good feedback from residents in the area; that they are accessible and doing their best to support the community. I am glad that we have the additional support of volunteer law enforcement here to assist the neighbourhood watch.”
Mr Plato said visibility is key in preventing the occurrence of crimes and uplifting communities.
“Preventing crime needs all of us to play our role to effect positive change in communities and we appreciate the efforts of neighbourhood watches across the city.”
He commended Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch in particular: “A female-led watch and it’s wonderful to see. The main purpose for them is to keep their families and communities safe and their hard work means so much for crime prevention and as a support to law enforcement and SAPS. They have the full backing of the City of Cape Town”.
Mr Plato spoke to vagrants at the bridge and said the City will try to assist them through shelters and interventions.