City magnifies reach of neighbourhood watches

17 Jul 2022 in Where We Govern

The City of Cape Town’s Neighbourhood Watch Support Programme will provide these vital community organisations with more than R5,6 million in patrol and crime prevention equipment.

‘The volunteers who are part of neighbourhood watches (NWs) are an integral part of keeping our communities safer and play an important role in keeping criminals away. The Safety and Security Directorate has an annual budget of R1,5m for procuring equipment for accredited NWs.

‘This is augmented by ward allocations from ward councillors, which for the 2022/23 financial year is R3 188 200. In addition, the Mayor recently indicated that he would be making an additional R1m available per annum for the next five years. We can therefore provide patrol and crime prevention equipment to neighbourhood watches to the value of more than R5,6m,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

High quality equipment is purchased and includes flashlights, spotlights, body cameras, dashboard cameras, bicycles, high visibility jackets, two-way radios, night vision equipment, and first aid kits.

During the past financial year, the Safety and Security Directorate provided more than 60 neighbourhood watches in 31 wards with equipment, while 20 more received training.

Neighbourhood watches are versatile organisations and apart from their crime prevention functions, contribute to other public safety issues and there is significant interest among accredited NWs for their possible involvement in the prevention and mitigation of disasters.

‘The Directorate will arrange for these NWs who wish to take part in this initiative to be capacitated so that they can assist the City with the management of disasters. This will include suitable training by the Disaster Risk Management Centre and the Fire and Rescue Service, as well as setting up a protocol for implementation. This will provide further skills to NW members who are passionate and dedicated to keeping their communities safe. We are aware of their impact and laud them for it,’ said Alderman Smith.

To be accredited as a neighbourhood watch, a properly constituted body must be comprised of at least seven patrollers who are members. The patrollers have to be verified as having no criminal offence against their name. Currently there are 312 accredited watches in the metropole.

The patrollers swear allegiance to a code of conduct and the patrol area is strictly defined.

‘The patrollers are the eyes and ears in the community. Through their vigilance, they promote and build safe neighbourhoods and work hand in hand with the SAPS to ensure safer communities,’ added Alderman Smith.