Western Cape has more than 16 000 registered Neighbourhood Watch members
Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen says, he is pleased to note that there are currently 16 084 registered Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) members in 441 accredited NHW’s across the province.
Minister Allen said: “These brave men and women who are diligently fighting crime in their respective communities should be applauded for their daily efforts. They make immense sacrifices and for this we’re truly grateful. It will be impossible to thank them enough, but their active involvement in combating crime just proves that the greater society shares my hope that we can overcome this evil in our communities. Just yesterday I signed the accreditation certificates of another group of NHW’s who will also join the fight to combat crime. Some have interesting, yet inspirational names, with one being called, Zero Crime Neighbourhood Watch.”
Starting a NHW is fairly easy. Depending on the geography of your area and what the support level is from your community, the basics to starting a NHW are as follows:
1. Call an expression of interest meeting in your area. It can be as small as 10 people, just to get things started. Explain what you foresee the NHW doing, and the time commitment required.
2. Establish your opening office bearers, these would be: Chairman, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership (possibly a patrol coordinator as well). These remain in these posts until your first formal community meeting where they step down and an election takes place to formally elect everyone into positions for the year ahead.
3. Write up your NHW constitution. If you don't have a sample of one, ask your nearest NHW or call the Department of Community Safety in your area and ask for a copy.
4. Set a date for your first public meeting.
5. Send invites to everyone in the area you intend to cover, send them to schools for the kids to give to their parents. Hand them out at traffic lights in the area, go door to door - this is your big push to get people to attend and bring their friends. The more people at your inaugural meeting the better.
6. Invite a representative from local SAPS to attend the meeting to show their support for the project
7. At the meeting, explain what the NHW will do, which area it will cover and what will be expected of people participating. Be open to discussion around ideas and input.
8. At the meeting, call for a quick election to formalise the appointment of office bearers.
9. With the minutes of your inaugural meeting and your constitution in hand, you should be able to open a bank account with dual signatories for transparency. There's always signage, printing costs, etc. that has to be paid for.
10. Finally, apply for accreditation for your NHW with the Department of Community Safety and local Police Station. (To become eligible for training, funding and support from the Department, you must be accredited).
Additional information about training and support can also be obtained at https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/neighbourhood-watch-nhw
“In order for us to be effective in overcoming crime, we’d all have to play a role. The patrols that I’ve been on thus far, are truly encouraging, as they continue to include NHW’s CPF’s, SAPS, Law Enforcement, along with private security firms and all other stakeholders. This shows that communities are determined to ensure that crime does not overcome us,” concluded Minister Allen.