Eye on the neighbourhood

2015-05-12 06:00
Two members of the Southern Eye Neighbourhood Watch on patrol in the streets of Lavender Hill in an effort to ensure a safer environment for the residents. 

astrid februarie

Two members of the Southern Eye Neighbourhood Watch on patrol in the streets of Lavender Hill in an effort to ensure a safer environment for the residents. PHOTO: astrid februarie

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Creating a safe and secure living space is one of the main objectives of the Southern Eye Neighbourhood Watch in Lavender Hill.

The newly established watch already has 28 active members who regularly patrol the area to ensure the community’s residents are safeguarded.

Founder of the watch Lucinda Evans, a resident, says the establishment of the watch has already given residents the ability to communicate better. It has also created a sense of family.

“We are taking back our streets, our homes, our lives. We need to protect what is here to ensure our children can walk the streets without fear,” she says.

This was revealed at a meeting last week, where residents voiced their concerns and also suggested solutions to their problems.

The watch was officially established on 10 April. It has received a lot of support from residents who are willing to volunteer their own time to patrol the streets in the early hours of the morning, afternoons and evenings.

“We are committed to the cause and I am grateful to see that so many residents have shown interest and are as committed as I am,” she says.

Evans says one of the biggest challenges are that when the “lights go off the guns go off at the same time”.

“Due to loadshedding it makes it really difficult for us to patrol the streets with the little resources that we have. If the City of Cape Town could ensure that at least the streetlights remained on we could still carry on with our duties,” she says.

The Neighbourhood Watch members are also concerned about an open field along ­Hilary Avenue which they believe is one of the hotspots for robberies.

They have proposed to call on the local ward councillor to have this field fenced off to ensure the criminal activity which occurs there can be eliminated.

“People get robbed there too often as they make their way to work or their way home from work. However, in the last three weeks since we started patrolling at this spot there have been fewer complaints from residents who live around or close to the field,” Evans says.

In formalising the neighbourhood watch, members are scheduled to take part in a number of workshops throughout the year.

They will also be equipped with help from the department of community safety. “We will be receiving reflector jackets as well as winter jackets and boots. We will further receive training in counselling, as well as how to preserve a crime scene,” she says.

The Watch members are also suggesting implementing a subscription fee. The money would be used to purchase torches. At a later stage they will also raise funds to purchase radios.

“We are slowly growing our resources to ensure we have the necessary equipment to communicate when we are out patrolling,” Evans says.

The Neighbourhood Watch is calling on residents to “mobilise and organise their own neighbourhood watches”.

“We will be hosting a number of fundraisers in the community and call on everyone to participate. Every little bit will make a difference,” she adds

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