Members of the Ottery Safety Patrol and ward councillor William Akim hosted a safety and security meeting at the Bruce Road civic centre in Ottery last Tuesday. The organisation’s patrol officer, Shanaaz Sulaiman Davids, says the meeting went exceptionally well, even though the number of attendees was disappointing. “Members of various neighbourhood watches and our organisation were given an opportunity to speak at the meeting. “Akim briefed the attendees on the statistics for Ottery. The area has been relatively quiet in the last three years in terms of gang violence and raids, and even though we still have many social problems, we will not be able to solve it in one or three years. However, with the necessary participation from the community, we can rid ourselves of the social ills,” she says.“There is a definite decline in robberies of people en route to work due to the visibility of the Ottery Safety Patrol in the mornings. Even though their numbers are small, they still making a positive impact and we call upon more people to join them. “Another major concern is people walking alone in the mornings – we call on everyone to walk in groups as you will be safer.”Davids urges residents to encourage family members to get involved and take control of the area. “It is our own people robbing one another. We endeavour to start with awareness programmes in the area to keep people informed on how best to deal with situations they are faced with. “Fuad Titus of the community policing forum addressed the meeting by stating that we have to fight crime by applying the law within the framework of the law. We are not vigilantes, we are all citizens wanting to make a positive impact on our community,” she says.“Captain Hanekom of Grassy Park Police Station also addressed the audience and reiterated what both Akim and Titus had said. There is no need for force, be visible and be an example to the youngsters. We need to move away from what everyone else can do for and start doing for ourselves and our community. “The Ottery community is segregated into Ottery A and B. We need to move away from that notion and start thinking and acting as one community.”V For more information contact the Ottery Safety Patrol on 078 845 3197 or email@example.com.