NEIGHBOURHOOD watch groups are one of the most effective ways to reduce crime levels – and that is exactly what the Parkside Neighbourhood Watch has been doing since its inception.
Started a year ago, the neighbourhood watch was set up predominantly to protect the elderly and children in the area. “Kids could not go to the shops without adult supervision because they were being harassed and robbed.
“Pensioners were robbed [when they received their social grants] and it was time to do something about it,” said secretary Diana De Jagger.
The area is well-known for its high crime rate, with house break-ins, robbery, ATM robberies and drunk-driving the main problem areas, but the watch’s chairman, Tom Fortuin, is very happy with the progress and the way in which the community has been co-operating with them.
The group patrols an area from the Parkside Bridge to the Pefferville Post Office, an area known for its high number of armed robberies at night.
“We have caught so many people and some right in the act. The community commends what we do and they are happy. We used to patrol from Monday to Monday but because the crime has gone down, we do it only a certain number of times a week. We will not stop; we will continue to fight crime in our area until there is no more,” said Fortuin.
But this was not always the situation, as residents were opposed to the patrols because they did not understand the aim behind them. Eventually they realised the need and began to understand the patrols were actually a crime deterrent.
“We have completed a year since we started and we can attribute that to teamwork, responsibility, respect for each other and unity,” he said.
They have also been talking to the police to work very closely with them. The group will be having a meeting with the SAPS soon to see how they can assist each other.