Keeping Oakdale safe

Marius Coetser speaks to Oakdale at the annual general meeting.

Despite lockdown, the Oakdale Neighbourhood Watch still logged more 2 000 hours of patrolling in the area, says its chairman, Marius Coetser.

He was speaking at the watch’s annual general meeting on Monday night.

“We have 25 active members who patrol the area, while our eyes-and-ears group, which communicate via WhatsApp groups, currently stands at 940 members,” he said.

“During lockdown, the patrollers logged an average of 300 hours a month, which is a testament of their commitment to keeping the area safe. Although, with 26 entrances to Oakdale and six zones to cover, we would like to see more residents putting their names down as patrollers.”

The watch would be raising money to send the patrollers for extra training, he said.

“During the lockdown, the patrollers were able to help police make a number of successful arrests while they also assisted with medical emergencies. One patroller was also able to rescue animals from a fire that broke out. With more training, the patrollers can do more for the residents, while they can also ensure that they provide quality services.”

Captain Lorette Dippenaar, of the Bellville police station, told the meeting that the police appreciated the watch’s efforts.

“We have seen a number of incidents occur the closer you go to Voortrekker Road and the Bellville CBD,” Captain Dippenaar said.

“As lockdown regulations decreased, the crime statistics increased dramatically, and we are appealing to residents to remain vigilant and join neighbourhood watch groups in order to extend the reach of the police.”

Common crimes in the area included vehicle-remote jamming, theft out of vehicles and cellphone-related muggings.

“When you park your vehicle close to Voortrekker Road and the CBD, please take note of your surroundings, and also, when you lock your vehicle, do not just press the button and walk away. Instead, physically pull on your door handle to ensure that your doors are locked, and also avoid walking with your keys or cellphones in your hands, as a number of cases have been reported where thieves run up and take your possessions before you have a chance to react.”