Get radios, cameras, City urges watches

2015-06-02 06:00

“Neighbourhood watch members do make a difference to the crime and grime.”

This is according to councillor JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security.

Smith was the guest speaker at the BKM Neighbourhood Watch annual meeting last week. He discussed the role that neighbourhood watches play in the city.

Smith said the City of Cape Town had a five-point community policing strategy, which has been formalised.

“We are now able to provide training and recruit neighbourhood watches,” he said.

Thus far over 4000 neighbourhood watch members have been trained. Training is provided in different languages.

“The training is coordinated by the department of community safety, which looks at the impact neighbourhood watches make in the various communities across the City,” he said.

Smith said the use of hand radios by neighbourhood watches played a large role in combatting crime and grime.

“While many neighbourhood watches have built robust hand radio networks, there are many neighbourhood watches who cannot afford this resource. The City will therefore support these neighbourhood watches with the necessary resources,” he said. The City gave hand radios to five neighbourhood watches during September last year.

Smith further said that CCTV cameras also played a vital role and were also part of the community policing strategy.

“The better equipped neighbourhood watches have tapped into the camera system and this enables them to share vital information. Thus far the City has installed about 150 cameras and over 30 private cameras have also been installed,” he said.

Smith said dashboard cameras would soon form part of the system and would be installed in the traffic department’s cars.

“This will enable them to gather information immediately and, even while driving around, capture number plates,” he said.

Solid waste vehicles will also be equipped with these cameras.

Smith further said that law enforcement reservists were a useful supplement to the police. The City hoped to scoop up more reservists as they wanted to grow the database. “We have a fair amount of growing to do in terms of the number of reservists we have, but with a huge interest we will be able to reach our goal,” he said.

Smith said the City was also appealing to ward councillors to make financial contributions towards their local neighbourhood watches.

“Councillors are not being asked to use all the ward allocations on equipment for neighbourhood watches, but imagine if they could at least once a year, for the next five years, purchase a CCTV camera for their communities – this would contribute greatly to the database and security level of the community,” he said.

Smith added that the City would continue to invest in neighbourhood watches and raise the amount of funds invested

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