Bobbies have curbed Hilton crime

2013-12-05 00:00

THE Bobbies on the Beat initiative has been instrumental in bringing down crime in Hilton by up to half, say some residents.

Bobbies on the Beat is a security patrol initiative. Residents pay subscriptions averaging R200 per month, which are used to employ security guards who patrol the area day and night.

Guards patrol on bicycles and on foot, and a patrol car was recently added.

The system was introduced a few years ago when break–ins and attacks on home owners in the area were rife.

Community Police Forum (CPF) members said they had toyed with other ideas, including installing cameras, but the cost was too high. Recently they gave torches to a community near Cedara as part of a crime-fighting exercise.

The CPF says there was a dramatic decrease in the crime rate since the launch of the Bobbies on the Beat.

However, the success of the initiative has led some residents to withdraw their contributions as the crime rate was stable. This has allegedly led to a sharp spike in recent months.

Since last month, the Hilton crime watch has recorded crimes including vehicle thefts, theft out of vehicles, break-ins and, most recently, an attack on a couple in their home.

Rob Hare and his wife, Joanna, were attacked by crowbar-wielding men on Monday night. They were robbed of various belongings.

Bale van Ryneveld, of the Hilton Community Security, said the Bobbies on the Beat initiative was introduced as they wanted as many deterrents to crime as possible. “We put up fences in the vulnerable areas along with warning signs.”

He said the crime rate had fallen by at least 45% since the bobbies were introduced.

“Unfortunately, in the last month we have noticed an increase again, but we are now thinking of strategies to curb the rate of crime,” he said.

Hilton CPF chairperson Mduduzi Mjwara said Hilton is not covered as it should be.

“We notice that criminals seem to operate in groups. If one section of Hilton was patrolled, they would move on to attack a different section. There should be security all over the area.

“We have other projects in the pipeline, but the issue is funding. We once considered putting up cameras in the area, but that is very expensive,” Mjwara said.

He said residents tended to retreat from the fight against crime the moment it showed signs of reducing.

“Another problem we have is that business people in Hilton do not get involved. We invite them [to meetings] and they simply do not come.”

He said some residents in the Winters­kloof area had farm-style radio systems that allowed them to hear if another neighbour was in trouble.

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