Taking ownership

2016-04-26 06:00

Crime fighters in Lansdowne are taking a no-nonsense approach in keeping crime out of their area.

Efforts such as painting over graffiti defacing buildings in their area, regular patrols as well as assisting residents in need is the approach by Lanroe Neighbourhood Watch to ensure their area is safer for all.

Chairman of the Lanroe Neighbourhood Watch, Ahmad Gangat, says their neighbourhood watch has evolved in two years.

“During our first year we were more focussed on patrolling in the area. However, though this may still be a primary factor, we have expanded quite a bit in terms of what the neighbourhood watch is doing,” Gangat says.

Included in the measures to keep their area safer, Gangat confirms they have set up two CCTV cameras in the area at strategic points to monitor movements in the area.

“These cameras were made possible through the donations of residents and Mahmood Abdurahman from Cellmood who helped a great deal in having these cameras erected in the area. We are making monthly contributions so that this will become sustainable in our area,” Gangat says.

Added to surveillance, the Lanroe Neighbourhood Watch established a website last year where safety tips, important information and contact details are shared.

“We are using technology to help us in curbing crime in our area. We also have a Whatsapp group where information is regularly shared,” he says.

Gangat confirms the neighbourhood watch is 50-strong at the moment.

“Currently we have 50 active patrollers in the area which helps with visibility. However, crime prevention doesn’t stop with visibility.

“We have residents who are not able to go out on patrol with us and they can contribute in other ways to ensure the safety of the area which includes sharing information via the Whatsapp group when they are home and notice suspicious activity as well as donations made to the organisation. All this essentially adds to the effectiveness of the neighbourhood watch,” he says.

The Broken Windows Project is another project which the neighbourhood watch has been advocating which focuses on taking ownership of their area.

“We have painted two sites – the corners of Imam Haron and Wolseley roads and Fred’s Garage – where graffiti was spotted and immediately after noticing it, about 15 members went to the sites to paint it. By doing this and nipping it in the bud we are taking back our streets and showing vandals we will not have them infiltrate our area,” he says.

Gangat adds they have recently also given approval for neighbourhood watch signage to be put up in the area.

“We had to follow a process of approval which was recently given by the City of Cape Town to post signage indicating the area has a neighbourhood watch. This process was followed according to all proper protocol because we did not want any backlash. Signage will be going up during the week,” he says.

Gangat says they have received great support from the Community Police Forum (CPF) as well as Lansdowne police.

“Since our inception we have worked closely with the police and helped in reviving our CPF. This came with positive results as in the last year where we helped reduce crime in our area by 70%,” he says.

The neighbourhood watch will be celebrating their second year anniversary at the end of this month.

The Lanroe Neighbourhood Watch will host their annual meeting on Wednesday 4 May at the Vera School in Anglesey Road at 19:30. For more information contact Ahmad Gangat on 082 377 6636.

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