‘Summer should stay fun’

2016-10-25 06:00
The Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch will be taking part in the annual beach safety project. They are calling on more people to volunteer to help patrol the beach over the festive season.

The Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch will be taking part in the annual beach safety project. They are calling on more people to volunteer to help patrol the beach over the festive season.

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Volunteers are needed for the seventh annual beach safety project in Hout Bay to help over the festive season to keep the beach safe.

This project is run by volunteers who give two hours of their time, seven days a week, to patrol the beach to make sure that crime is minimised. Volunteers also ensure that swimmers are swimming in designated areas.

The project runs over six weeks – from Wednesday 7 December to Wednesday 18 January.

Over the six years this project has run, there have been zero incidents on the beach over the festive season. Before the beach safety project started crimes like petty theft, alcohol consumption, violence and near drowning were on the rise, says Tammy Matthysen, organiser of the Beach Safety Project.

“We have had zero crime stats during our six weeks’ patrol schedule every year. Out of season, when the beach is not managed, we have a few muggings and attacks on residents.

“We manage all aspects on the beach to make sure that everyone is safe. This year, I am hoping to have five shifts of two hours per shift every day to ensure our visitors and residents are kept safe this festive season. We have security presence and the help of dog handlers present in high-risk areas. The whole community is working together against crime,” she says.

The project was started by Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch (HBNW) members.

“Summer should be fun and not hindered by crime. I got involved with the project seven years ago and fell in love with it. I have managed it for many years and take pride in all the hard work and dedication from all members and roleplayers involved. I spend my entire summer on the beach.

“It’s a community project aimed at safety on our beaches. We work together with law enforcement, police, the National Sea Rescue Institute and local security companies,” says Matthysen.

This year she wants more volunteers to patrol the beach. “We are calling on more patrollers to be the eyes and ears on the beach. Each patroller is given a HBNW vest, a radio that is linked to [the control centre in Hout Bay] and a procedure guide. Once a call is made, our response teams are alerted and action is carried out. We all work as a team ensuring zero crime on the beach,” she says.

Local restaurants in Hout Bay support the programme by sponsoring meal vouchers as incentives for volunteers. This year each member who patrols two or more shifts will be given a R100 voucher from Massimos Hout Bay.

V To be involved in this project as a patroller or sponsor contact Tammy Matthysen on 061 913 7151 or beach@hbnw.co.za.

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