More resources ‘would be helpful’

More equipment would make life easier for the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch.

This was reported shortly after the Department of Community Safety (Docs), together with the local police, successfully screened and handed over six bibs to the Watch on Friday 22 September.

However, Heather Saunders, the Watch’s treasurer, says although they appreciate the gesture, it is not enough to solve their problem. “It is important that the patrollers are screened and easily recognised with numbered bibs. We would need about 20 bibs, mostly in medium and large, before the busy summer season starts. At night in particular torches would be handy so that they are able to see where they are going.”

She says they last received equipment last year, but the number of patrollers has grown as more people show interest.

Saunders also mentions the need for fire training for their patrollers in Imizamo Yethu. She says they have been promised training and some patrollers have attended two sessions, but Saunders says they did not gain firefighting skills. She says Imizamo Yethu has many fire incidents and even though patrollers are able to respond quickly, they are not well equipped to deal with fire.

Rod Panagos, HBNW operations manager, agrees with Saunders.

He says having proper working equipment would help reduce allegations that patrollers assault or do harm to innocent persons as the bibs are exclusive, individually numbered and named, and are not interchangeable with other patrollers.

He says their precinct deals with different crimes under different circumstances.

He says while the Valley areas suffer mainly from house and vehicle break-ins and muggings, as this is where thieves go to find the high-value commodities, Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg struggle with high levels of violent contact crimes between persons known to one another.

“At all times all members should keep their eyes and ears open and listening for signs of criminal activity and reporting that information back through the structures and our local privately sponsored Community Safety Information Centre (CSIC) called Watchcon so that appropriate action can be taken.”

Ewald Botha, Docs spokesperson says it must be noted that the department has to make provision for the entire province with limited funding. He says they are only able to issue each accredited structure with one starter kit. “However, in the case of Hout Bay, they received two starter kits since it is more than one area. Furthermore, HBNW also received basic fire fighting training and first aid level 1 training [last year].”

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