‘Disappointing’ turnout by locals

2018-09-25 06:01
Some of the residents and officials who attended the meeting.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Some of the residents and officials who attended the meeting.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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In response to a call for assistance from the Westridge community, Westgate Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) called a community safety meeting to discuss the way forward last week.

“We received requests from residents on this side due to the rise in crime in the area in the last six months,” said Westgate NHW chairperson Rezu Daniels at the meeting on Tuesday.

But to their disappointment, only stakeholders were in attendance.

The meeting was set to be held at the La Provence Way park but due to weather concerns, the meeting was moved to the Dagbreek Community Hall. Officials had visited La Provence Way to direct people to the hall, but no one was waiting at that point.

“Everyone (law enforcement agencies) is present here, except the community. They are the owners of the process,” said Daniels.

He further thanked the Law Enforcement, Traffic and Department of Community Safety officials for their attendance, saying it “showed their commitment” to the community. Ward 78 councillor Eddie Andrews was also in attendance.

“We had a slightly better response when we started the Westgate Neighbourhood Watch. There were 10 people and half of them became the committee. The first year was very difficult, we only had five people patrolling. But things got better and more joined. Now we are where we are,” he said.

There were only a handful of residents at the meeting.

Daniels said this indicated that although they had called for the meeting, the residents were not yet serious enough about fighting crime and standing together.

“Either they are not ready or their tolerance levels for crime are very high,” said Daniels. “People need to realise that the further you push your boundaries out, the easier it is to keep criminals away. If you stop him before he gets to your gate, there is very little left to do. Unlike police, communities can be proactive. Police are reactive, they must wait for something to happen. That is the law.”

Robberies and burglaries were the main crimes highlighted by residents to the NHW, who were asked to assist in the crime fighting initiatives in the section of Westridge. The area in question, starts at Morgenster, down Dagbreek and into Avocado Way. The NHW were called in to assist as part of the area forms part of their patrol area and for their success in cleaning the streets of Westgate, separated from Westridge only by a dune. The current NHW operates in the borders are Wespoort and Jakes Gerwel drives, Morgenster Road and Dagbreek Laan, however they have very little intelligence and support across the dune.

Resident Tarique van Boom agreed that the robberies were a concern and prompted him to attend the meeting.

Ridwaan Nero, NHW co-ordinator, urged residents to take a stand in cleaning up their streets and urged them to attend the next meeting to assist in fighting crime.

“We hope to see a full hall next meeting. We want residents to get involved in cleaning their environment. We receive many complaints, but it is useless to complain if you are not willing to get involved,” said Nero.

Daniels added: “Peace and quiet comes at a price, and that price is not paid in money. It is in time.”

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