Cycles ensures safety

2016-12-08 06:01
 The success of the patrol campaign by the Khayelitsha campus of the False Bay Technical and Vocational Education and Training College together with the area’s CPF was is hailed.  PHOTO: vavavum

The success of the patrol campaign by the Khayelitsha campus of the False Bay Technical and Vocational Education and Training College together with the area’s CPF was is hailed. PHOTO: vavavum

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A joint crime prevention initiative between a learning institution, the community, the police and the private sector has dramatically reduced crime in Khayelitsha, ensuring a conducive environment for education.

The success of the patrol campaign by the Khayelitsha campus of the False Bay Technical and Vocational Education and Training College together with the area’s Community Policing Forum (CPF), the local police station and a network giant has been such that Western Cape authorities are considering extending it to other crime hotspots.

Haido Mtetwa, head of the campus, recently presented the initiative to a cluster safety meeting, which was attended by, among others, Dan Plato, Provincial MEC for Community Safety, who requested further engagement to see if its viability can be taken elsewhere.

The project started two years ago when students became soft targets of criminals on their way to and from the campus.

“Every morning my office used to be flooded by students with complaints of attacks and robberies, and I would spend most of my days taking the victims to the police station to open cases,” Mteto recalled.

The situation led to a huge decline in student attendance with many eventually dropping out of college as they feared for their safety.

That had a negative impact on the campus’ throughput rate and the management had to act.

Mteto says the campus tapped into their good relationship with the community and established a programme to patrol all the problematic routes leading to the campus.

The deal is for the CPF, who are working hand in hand with the cops, to strategically patrol routes from all bus and taxi stops as well as from the railways stations to the campus from 7am to 9pm.

In appreciation, the college give patrollers stipends.

But they found it difficult to get to crime scenes at times and the network operator came on board with a donation of 10 bicycles.

That enabled the patrollers to not only apprehend criminals but to even escort students to and from their stops as a preventive measure.

“Since then there has been almost a zero crime rate towards our staff and students, and our teaching and learning is doing very well.

The community is benefiting too as learners from the neighbouring schools and residents attest that they don’t get robbed anymore.”

Mteto, who is also the secretary of the Khayelitsha Education Forum, says he supports calls to extend the programme.

“This kind of initiative is important as it augments the work of the police because cops cannot be everywhere. Crime in our communities affects many programmes, especial at schools.”

Nkululeko Makangela, head of the patrollers, says they are well-received in the community and his members don’t only safeguard members of the college but the community at large as well as visitors.

“We feel safer now,” he enthused.

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