Mountview residents can sleep easier at night knowing they have brave crime-fighters keeping criminals at bay.
Established in 2010, the Mountview Crime Watch has been committed to making the area a safe one for all. Chairperson Faiek Salie says this has proven to be successful.
He says the neighbourhood watch was established when he and others saw suspected criminals prowling the area.
“We noticed that a lot of unsavoury characters were roaming our streets and the visibility of trolleys were becoming more and more evident and there were hijackings and burglaries. We needed to do something so that the [criminals] could see that there is visible patrolling in the area,” he explains.
Currently made up of 15 members, the neighbourhood watch patrols regularly.
Salie explains the boundaries of the neighbourhood watch are from Mountview up to Belmore Avenue, but they also partner with Penlyn neighbourhood watch, automatically covering more ground and increasing visibility.
Salie says the neighbourhood watch has experienced challenges when out on patrol.
“Initially we had many unwanted feet walking through the area. On a busy night we would get up to 20 guys gallivanting, looking for a car to break into or a battery to steal. Over time, however, due to regular patrols and visibility of the neighbourhood watch, this number has decreased significantly. That being said, we have the challenge of sustaining this presence as the amount of guys patrolling has dwindled.”
He adds they feel they’re not getting the necessary support from the police.
“Unfortunately, the assistance we get from police has been irregular. Certain times their response has been within 15 minutes, while other times we could be waiting for well over an hour. We’ve also found that these varying response times and treatment by the police is dependent on which team is on shift.”
Initially the neighbourhood watch members patrolled every night, he says.
“Over time, however, we’ve identified activities on particular days or nights of the week and also at particular times. We now try to patrol two nights in the week and once on the weekend. Our members also do a drive around after sunset in the area on the evenings which we don’t patrol,” he says.
Residents are kept up to date about activity in the area via social media and information is mostly shared on WhatsApp groups, Salie says.
Salie says they urge more residents to come on board as they need the manpower.
The neighbourhood watch has also started running projects in the area and they are currently looking forward to the next event – a lunch at the Cheshire Home on Wednesday 16 December.
Future plans for the neighbourhood watch include putting up visible signage to show that an active neighbourhood watch is in the area.
“And we are also looking at installing CCTV cameras. We are currently trying to get sponsorship, otherwise we will have to fund it ourselves from our fundraisers and members’ pockets,” he says.