Car guards now easily recognised

2016-04-26 06:00
Desmond Carelse, one of the newly registered Community Crime Prevention car guards in Hout Bay, shows off his new uniform that will help residents to easily recognise the legal car guards in their area.

Desmond Carelse, one of the newly registered Community Crime Prevention car guards in Hout Bay, shows off his new uniform that will help residents to easily recognise the legal car guards in their area.

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Hout Bay residents have welcomed the registered and official car guards that are working in their area to look after cars and be the eyes and ears for police.

With over 49 of them – both male and female – ‘planted’ all around Hout Bay, no-one can miss them with their gear of a community vest, clearly marked ‘crime prevention’, as well as a hat and an identity card with their picture and name.

Over a period of a month the local community policing forum (CPF) and Community Crime Prevention (CCP) went out to the streets and collected the data of people who were already working as car guards in the area.

They have been screened by police and approved by the CPF after undergoing a thorough criminal check including having had their finger prints taken. Following this initiative, crime in the area – especially theft out of motor vehicles and break-ins – have decreased tremendously.

What pushed this initiative even further was the fact that illegal car guards were robbing people, harassing them and demanding money, says CCP director Keri Cross.

Car guards were also fighting for spots, but now that they are registered it is easy to regulate them and know exactly who is working where, she says.

“People feel much safer now. They can go about their business freely knowing that they left someone who has been verified in that spot. We are happy for the work that has been done and because we are a non-profit organisation we help with what we can, and for now it is the uniforms that makes it easy to distinguish them.”

“In the past anyone could just got into a shop and get a vest, and it was causing a lot of problems for us, but now things will change.”

Though the car guards work without pay they depend on the generosity of people that they help. “We can’t afford to pay them as we are an NPO. We spent more than R20 000 to get them their gear. We are trying to approach business people that have seen their work and maybe we can get something for them, but that is not guaranteed.”

Cross says with winter approaching their wish is to get the car guards raincoats and they are calling on anyone who is willing to step in and help. “We believe these guys are doing a fantastic job in being the eyes and the ears of the community, and we can only help them by improving their working conditions.”

Also on the pipeline for the car guards is to have them skilled in basic South African security guard services, Cross says.

People who would like to donate can email or call Keri Cross on 072 494 4974.

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