Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain are going to be safer this festive season, after the graduation of 300 new neighbourhood watch members from these two communities.
The volunteers were trained by the Provincial Department of Community Safety to actively participate in crime prevention and visible policing in their neighbourhoods.
The City of Cape Town will provide 100 bicycles to enable them to enhance their community patrols, particularly during the festive season when the crime rate rises.
The initiative forms part of the City’s Urban Renewal Programme, in partnership with the province, which focuses on alleviating poverty and addressing under-development and socio-economic problems in areas of greatest deprivation.
The new neighbourhood watch members will be deployed to high-crime areas in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain by the South African Police Service and Community Police Forums, in order to make residents aware of community law enforcement in their areas.
Councillor JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, addressed the graduation ceremony on Saturday 21 November 2009.
“We really respect what they are doing, and their sacrifice to make their community safe. We want to honour them – it’s a selfless and commendable act in a time when there is little community service,” he said.
Smith mentioned the recent deaths of two Neighbourhood Watch members who were killed on duty, and said an operation to target drug dealers had been launched in response to this.
“We really made their lives miserable,” he said.
Smith added that while Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain are the main focus of the Urban Renewal Programme, other such initiatives are being launched across the city.
“This is one of the ways in which the City is trying to turn around crime, with the ‘box harder, box smarter’ approach,” he said.
This involves more capital and operational expenditure for equipment and extra staff, as well as improving training, fitness levels, rewards and incentives for law enforcement officials.
George Penxa, Director: Urban Renewal Programme, said the graduation ceremony went “very well”, and was well supported by community members.
“It also sent out a good message – that the City and the province and government as a whole are all serious about fighting crime.
“Our main aim is to make people feel safe in their own homes and as they go around their neighbourhoods,” he said.
[ad#Google Adsense 234×60]