Lakeside residents are cleaning up their neighbourhood – and building the community while they’re at it.The Lakeside Community Watch (LCW) recently held a clean-up in Orient Road and at the train station.The area was selected as the dense vegetation poses a security risk, with people living in the bushes on the railway property, says watch member Hanli Fourie.The watch is partnering with Prasa, who owns the property, and the City of Cape Town, to remove the cleared vegetation.Although the clean-up started as a security solution to improve visibility for patrollers, the day turned into a community driven project with around 50 locals rolling up their sleeves.The neighbourhood watch started in March after a founding member came across an intruder in their home and waited 45 minutes for security agents to respond.The watch started with a dozen members and has now grown to over 60, says watch member Candida Howarth. “The security companies and police can’t be everywhere. We realised if we became the eyes and ears for them, we could make the area safer.”The community has noted a “major difference” since the establishment of the watch, says Howarth.The watch not only patrols the streets to prevent crime, but also deals with other aspects of safety such as assisting motorists when the booms at the railway crossing are not working or promoting pedestrian safety.In addition to the clean-ups, the watch also ensures that council cuts back trees and replaces faulty street lights.The members believe there has been a drop in crime since the watch had been established.“There’s been a shift in the community. People are standing together and supporting each other. We know our neighbours now. It’s not just about security – it’s about building the community,” says Fourie.However, there is still a long way to go. The watch members dream of installing a radio antenna to assist with their communication, and cameras, as well as having recycling hubs installed.But, in the meantime, they are calling on the community to assist by joining up and contributing to the next clean-up on Saturday 27 August.V For more information, visit www.lakecw.co.za, like LCW – Lakeside Community Watch, on Facebook or follow @LakesideCW on Twitter.