Edit: This is an old article from February 2014. For the new Neighbourhood Watch news, please see the menu on the right. Here's a link.
I am addressing this mainly to those permanently resident in Betty’s Bay. To all the others we welcome your support in our endeavours to keep our village safe and secure for all at all times.
As you may or may not be aware, the initiative was taken some four years ago to establish a Neighbourhood Watch due to rising incidents of crime. It has taken much effort, not to mention the commitment and cost to individual members of the NW for which we must be most grateful. Through the generous support from some of our residents, we have been able to equip our Wardens with radios, ID Cards, magnetic car door signs and bibs. We have also erected NW signs throughout the town. Rondevlei took the initiative of purchasing radios of their own from the proceeds of funds raised and quite a number of their Wardens have also purchased their own radios.
A number of Wardens have undergone training workshops presented by the provincial Department of Community Safety (DOCS). We have also received portable radios and torches from DOCS for use by those who attended the training.
A major challenge is the lack of Visible Policing in the Overstrand cluster. The manpower shortage is not unique to our area as all of the seven stations in the cluster face similar manpower shortages.
The Cluster realizes the gravity of our problem and is committed to assist where and when it is possible with special operations in our area.
This underlines the critical situation we are faced with which emphasizes the absolute necessity for us to prevail upon our good folk to re-enforce our commitment to an effective Neighbourhood Watch. The good work being undertaken by Stony Point and Rondevlei Zones needs to be extended throughout the entire village. This does not mean that patrols have to be carried out. The ’eyes and ears’ approach being adopted by some areas simply needs to be extended to ensure its effectiveness. Our prime objective is to take every precaution to prevent incidents of crime and Wardens are not required to get involved in the arresting of culprits; that is the function of SAPS. Our task is to keep our SAPS informed of suspicious circumstances. All are in agreement that visibility and communication are essential elements in achieving this objective. However, this approach is not full proof but it certainly has achieved a great deal in keeping our crime rate to an absolute minimum. SAPS attributes this to our on-going NW patrols often throughout the night. In our unique area of operation we have to constantly consider new and different tactics especially when trying to prevent crime and the poaching of our marine resources.
Crime over the festive season increased quite dramatically but most of the incidents of housebreakings and theft out of vehicles can be attributed to the carelessness of owners/visitors who failed to adhere to sound security precautionary measures. Crime shifts on a weekly basis and currently Kleinmond and Pringle Bay are being targeted. Betty’s Bay has also had its fair share. For January alone there have been in excess of 60 incidents for the Hangklip/Kleinmond area. We attend weekly meetings with SAPS to establish crime trends and relay this back to our Wardens so that appropriate steps can be taken. What makes our task so difficult is the remote areas where little, if any, patrols are undertaken and breakings are more frequent because those areas are predominantly made up of vacant holiday homes. To patrol a town 15 km’s in length is no easy task especially when there are no street lights and there is dense bush.
It is for this reason that we are in desperate need of additional Wardens so that we can lighten the burden and extend our activities.