Residents urged to support newly accredited neighbourhood watches

Residents of Paarl and Stellenbosch should warmly welcome the area’s new neighbourhood watches, and work with them in the fight against crime.

That was the call from local security and community safety organisations ahead of an accreditation event, recently hosted by the provincial Department of Community Safety, where Community Safety MEC Dan Plato award accreditation certificates to 14 neighbourhood watches.

The new neighbourhood watch structures receiving accreditation included 12 structures in the greater Stellenbosch area (Vlottenburg, Stellenbosch and Cloetesville) and two structures in greater Paarl (Paarl East and Paarl West).

This brings the number of accredited neighbourhood watches in the province to 226.

“The people of the Winelands value and appreciate the part that these volunteers will play in keeping people safe. This accreditation event was made possible in great part thanks to the hard work of Dr Carol Phul Snyman, chairperson of the local Community Policing Forum,” says Anton van Zyl, CEO of Stellenbosch Watch.

“I urge the new watches to link up with coordinating structures such as Stellenbosch Watch and the Stellenbosch Safety Initiative, or Drakenstein Farm Watch in Paarl, as a matter of urgency to further enhance the area’s effective communication and information sharing network.”

His sentiments were echoed by Verena Hulme, district manager (Cape Town North) for Fidelity ADT.

“Neighbourhood watches are a critical element in any plan to keep a community safe.

“Law enforcement agencies and private security companies simply cannot be everywhere all the time. Watches and community organisations such as Stellenbosch Watch and Drakenstein Farm Watch are our ‘eyes and ears’ and have helped us with many successful anti-crime operations.

“The biggest part of the Western Cape is covered by a communications network that links all these role-players together,” she says.

Ms Hulme urges residents living in Stellenbosch and Paarl to become active participants in their local security and safety efforts. “By working with these new watches, we can make our suburbs ‘no go zones’ for crime.”