Keeping Clarendon safe

2014-04-23 00:00

FOLLOWING the rape of a Pietermaritzburg doctor in the upmarket suburb of Clarendon in November last year, the community there have taken swift action to make their streets safer.

Rob Evans of the Clarendon Community Association said they have started community patrols at night with 20 to 25 members taking part. “We are determined to keep Clarendon safe. We have Bobbies on the streets too. If we want to take ownership of our streets, everyone needs to participate. We are working closely with the police and the community policing forum,” he said.

“In the last three weeks, we have started the night patrols initiative and we believe that it will help decrease crime in the area. More street lights were provided by the councillor, Glenn McArthur, which made for better visibility in some areas,” said Evans. He added that they don’t want to reveal details on the times they patrol or where. “We are using one car for now at-risk hours and if we notice suspicious persons we alert police.”

Town Hill policing forum chairperson Edmund Szudrawski said they are working with the community to make sure there is no place for criminals, even though there is still some fear among the runners in the suburb.

“Some runners are running in groups to make sure that they are safe. It’s impossible to have police on every street, but as the community we must make sure that we are safe by starting the community watch, Bobbies and street patrols that will work closely with the police and security companies,” said Szudrawski.

Ward 23 councillor McArthur praised the Clarendon community for their stance in trying to clean up crime in their neighbourhood. “They’re exceptionally proactive and don’t just sit and complain; they do, as well. They lead from the front.”

He said the Clarendon community’s own neighbourhood watch was “very effective to a certain extent”. He said they had bought a brush cutter and were cleaning up the Villiers Drive area and were also looking at cordoning off the area of unkempt bush there, which belongs to the municipality and goes right down to the Dorpspruit. “They are also trying to clean up along the banks of the river. The Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust is involved and I climb in with my guys as well. They also have someone who reports which street lights are out to me, which helps me a lot. They also have their Red Alert guards; but there are not enough of them and they cost a lot. They do whatever they can that’s affordable.”

He said the commendable community spirit shown there was typical of the Clarendon community in the last five years.

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