City bolsters Neighbourhood Watches

20 Oct 2019 in Where We Govern

Members from 228 accredited neighbourhood watches around the city attended the session in Cape Town.

‘Safety is everyone’s responsibility and the volunteers who are part of the neighbourhood watches are an integral part of keeping our communities safer. A neighbourhood watch does not only make it easier to recognise suspicious activity but also encourages residents to get to know each other.

This year the City has made nearly R3 million available to support neighbhourhood watches,’ said the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The R2 938 700 budget includes equipment, training, and support.

‘Our neighbourhood watches increase the reach of the City’s policing services. They are our eyes and ears when they patrol their suburbs and ensure a visible presence and security in the communities they serve,’ said Alderman Smith.

The weekend’s information session gave the neighbourhood watches vital information on patrolling strategies and providing support during disasters.

‘Members are not only able to identify crime and prevent it with their presence, but they are often the first responders. It is essential we equip them with knowledge on how to address the everyday crime concerns of residents, such as domestic violence, abandoned cars, vacant plots filled with trash, and drugs and gang activity,’ said Alderman Smith.

Neighbourhood watches assist law enforcement teams by alerting police to suspicious activity; identifying stolen property; doing home security surveys; and building a sense of responsibility in the community.

‘We are committed to helping neighbourhood watches become functional, accountable and capable partners in the fight against crime. The City’s Safety and Security Directorate is aware of the impact they make in their communities and commend them for it and that’s why we provide watches with as much resources as possible,’ said Alderman JP Smith.

Over the last decade, the City has invested in training and development of neighbourhood watches through the training of thousands of patrollers, providing equipment like jackets, torches and bicycles, equipping them with hand radios and radio base stations for their watch rooms, and partnering with neighbourhood watches to install and share information between CCTV camera networks.