In the three months that Community in Blue volunteers have been patrolling Nahoon Beach, there has been a marked improvement, say residents.
One resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “Residents in Nahoon, Bonnie Doon and Stirling are paying huge rates and premiums to be part of this community.
“I lived abroad for years and I came back to live here because it is so special to me and I wanted my children to have that connection to the beach as well but drunken behaviour and the regular sewage spills are chasing us off the beach.
“I am so grateful to groups such as the Community in Blue, it’s a start in taking back control of our beach at least.”
Local SA Police Service spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, said: “The Community in Blue initiative has been rolled out nationally and every police station has recruited volunteers to help combat crime through the Community Policing Forum.
“Many stations that have a coastline have already implemented the initiative and the results are phenomenal in so far as proactive policing.
“It has been noted that wherever the Community in Blue patrollers are active, there is a decrease in crime and also a better understanding between the police and the community.
“In the Nahoon area, since the patrollers were active, we have also seen a decrease in serious crime. Their willingness to work over weekends and public holidays is appreciated and commendable. Their work is well monitored by the sector managers [police officials].”
Nahoon ward councillor Jason MacDowell said from December 30 to January 2, the patrollers’, SAPS’ and BCM law enforcement’s combined efforts had prevented drownings and incidents of violence caused by public drinking. “I have seen significant changes in behaviour since the patrols started.
“They are able to not only address non-compliance with bylaws but also educate people about beach safety. It’s amazing to see the residents finally come together and work together to address their challenges.
“As soon as the safety campaign stopped, there was a drowning in the Nahoon river informed by drinking,” he said.