Neighbourhood Watch structures exceeds 600 and 17 000 members in Western Cape
I am delighted to learn that in the Western Cape, we have reached 615 accredited neighbourhood watch (NHW) structures. We now have 17 546 registered members.
Since taking office, I have patrolled with 41 NHWs across the province, and will be embarking on more of these in due course.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to every NHW structure and member across the province. The manner in which they freely offer up their time, energy and resources to create safer communities by patrolling and being visible in their areas, is commendable and deeply appreciated. The NHWs and Community Policing Forum (CPFs), who are closely working with officials in the Western Cape Department of Community Safety (DOCS), are showing what it means to be community champions. I have noticed firsthand, when on patrol with these champions how dedicated and determined they are to ensure everyone in their respective area can live in improved and safer conditions. They continue to be a critical cog in the safekeeping of communities.
Officials in DOCS should also be applauded for their continued assistance of the NHWs, particularly from an administrative, training, resourcing and empowerment perspective. We remain committed to assisting more and more NHWs within this process.
Both Premier Alan Winde and I, would firstly like to challenge all WCG staff to form part of their respective NHWs. In addition to this, we would like to urge residents who are physically able to also join their local NHWs. This will not only boost the number of members we have in this province, but it will also ensure that there is greater visibility and a much bigger presence of citizens who are saying no to crime in our areas.
We have adopted the slogan: “Join your neighbourhood watch now and make a difference in your community.”
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 co-ordinator 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 children 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 the 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 an 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