City man joins crime patrol

2016-02-23 06:00
Reidents walked the streets with ward councillor Danny Christians and Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith.

Reidents walked the streets with ward councillor Danny Christians and Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith.

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A group of residents recently took charge of their streets with a patrol from 21:00 to 00:00.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for Safety and Security, joined the Riversdale Way block committee during a patrol of the area on Friday.

“I patrol regularly with neighbourhood watches across the city and I have requested various watches to invite me to join them when they have patrols in their areas. On these patrols I often discover new ways in which we can support them. I can also monitor whether we as the City of Cape Town are delivering on the current support programmes directed to neighbourhood watches and I am given insight as to whether the support programme is benefitting the neighbourhood watch,” says Smith.

Need resourcesHe adds the Riversdale Way committee members are well-organised and very enthusiastic, but need more resources in the form of jackets, torches, boots and bicycles, all of which they will soon be receiving in addition to what they have already received.

They have several members who are ready to join the City’s law enforcement auxiliary service (LEAS).

“The group has a good membership, but does not have patrollers from every part of the area. They would like to patrol a broader area; however, ongoing recruitment is done while they are patrolling. On Friday night I approached two residents standing in front of their doors, who agreed to go on patrol with us there and then,” says Smith.

“It was also encouraging to see the ward councillor, Danny Christians, patrolling with us and to hear that he has set budget aside for equipment for the group. We would like to see more councillors doing so.”

Peace officersNo Metro Police and Law Enforcement officers were on the patrol. They will patrol with neighbourhood watches when requested.

“The City’s LEAS programme allows neighbourhood watch members to be trained as peace officers. This will allow the peace officers to patrol on their own, as they will have all the required powers to act on the issues they confront. This eliminates the need to have police officers, Law Enforcement or Metro Police officers to patrol with them,” explains Smith.

More residents are encouraged to join.

“Research shows that an active neighbourhood watch is the largest deterrent of crime – even more than police, armed response or alarm systems. By doing these patrols, the neighbourhood watch is doing more than just preventing crime – it is building social cohesion and social capital,” he says.

“With ongoing recruitment the neighbourhood watches can mobilise more and this will allow more residents to become active in their communities, which does not just address crime. This will help build a defence against other social ills and create a platform where residents can mobilise to address other community issues.”

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