Fight crime with youth

2016-04-05 06:00

Residents in Sherwood Park, Manenberg, are resting a bit easier (day and night) since a new neighbourhood watch started in the area.

The Sherwood Park Neighbourhood Watch has been operating officially since two months ago which has seen a positive impact on safety and security in the area.

Deputy chairperson of the neighbourhood watch and street committee Shahied Francis says the organisation goes beyond crime prevention in the area.

“Our neighbourhood watch structure is focussed on crime prevention, however, it does not end there. We also focus on our youth in the area and are focussing on youth development as well,” he says.

The structure currently has nine executive members, Francis says.

“Included to this number we have a number of people who patrol with us. However, these numbers vary as it is a community initiative. We want to encourage residents to become involved with the neighbourhood watch and street committees in their area. We currently have a social media group where information is shared and relayed. This has all our residents alert in the area ensuring a safer community,” Francis says.

He further says youth empowerment and development is a grassroots level approach by the structure. “We had an incident two weeks ago where a girl was stabbed in the hand after she was robbed of her cellphone. This was brought to my attention and intervened by going to the gang leader responsible for the robbery. Another incident also occurred when a 13-year-old boy was said to be throwing stones and stealing at a shop in the area. In both instances we interacted with the youth involved trying to demotivate them from criminal activities. We want the youth in our area to strive for greater things and excel in their lives. We want mutual respect to prevail,” he says.

Francis says the neighbourhood watch plans to host a fund-raising initiative during next month.

Abdul Kader of the Manenberg Community Police Forum (CPF) says the structure has been showing positive results.

“They have been trying to get this neighbourhood watch off the ground now for about a year. The chairperson of the neighbourhood watch came to me last year asking what they can do with regard to safety in the are because crime just escalated,” Kader says.

“I then suggested to them that he should start a street committee first and this also showed good results. They started out with only two members. From there the structure grew and about two months ago we held an AGM where their constitution was given to them and a neighbourhood watch committee was elected,” he says.

Kader says the structure has been showing positive results in terms of patrolling in the area. “They currently have two shifts that patrol during the day and night. They are quite active and have already hosted a fund-raiser to bring in some funds to the structure.”

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