Criminals under fire
December 28 2007 at 05:21pm
By Candice Bailey
The mushrooming of neighbourhood watches in Cape Town has resulted in a reduction in crime, with an ever increasing number of concerned residents joining police in fighting the scourge.
In some neighbourhoods, such as Kirstenhof, crime has decreased by 43 percent.
Karen Key of the Kirstenhof Crime Watch said the visible patrols by the neighbourhood watch played a major role in the decrease.
According to crime statistics provided by Key which compared the second quarter of 2007 to the third, when the Crime Watch started its patrols, there was a 43 percent drop in crime in the area.
Residential burglaries went down from 35 incidents in quarter two to 20 in quarter three and theft out of motor vehicles decreased from 21 incidents to 13 incidents over the same period.
Key said residents of the Kirstenhof and Norfolk Park area decided to set up the watch because crime was on the up.
"We went from a neighbourhood which saw children playing in the streets and people walking with a sense of security, to the streets being practically deserted. High walls, security fences, electric fencing and top-of-the-range security systems are now the norm."
So the residents decided to "take back their streets" and in May the Kirstenhof Crime Watch was formed.
Currently, there are 485 signed-up members and 201 listed patrollers, of whom 90 are active. They have four zone co-ordinators as well as 67 street co-ordinators.
Zone co-ordinators meet the Sector 2 commander once a month to discuss crime statistics. The zone co-ordinators liaise with the street co-ordinators and they liaise with the residents in their street.
"The community of Kirstenhof is happy to be involved with Crime Watch as is evidenced by their dedication to patrolling, the joint operations with SAPS as well as by their increased community spirit and awareness," said Key.