Langverwacht had seen a huge “improvement” in crime but many challenges still lay ahead, said outgoing Langverwacht Safety Watch chairman Denver Rank at its annual general meeting last week.
“We’ve had a challenging year, and it remains a challenge,” Mr Rank told the meeting at Kuils River Rugby Club, on Wednesday February 22.
The challenge Mr Rank was referring to is membership.
“We have 95 registered members but only 25 to 30 are actively involved,” Mr Rank said.
Nevertheless, he thanked members for volunteering to fight crime and being the “eyes and ears of police”.
“Members are offering up their personal time every night to patrol our streets,” he said. “And we’ve seen a huge improvement in terms of crime.”
Logan Frieslaar, chairman of the Sector 4 community police sub-forum, appealed to the community to support the watch, even if they could not join as members.
“It’s not an easy job. Give them your support. Not everyone can be a neighbourhood watch member, but people can help in other ways,” he said, using printing and car maintenance as examples of other things people could do to help. “It can’t only come out of the members’ pockets.”
The 15-odd members at the meeting elected Ravern Heynes to take over from Mr Rank as chairman.
Mr Heynes said: “This is already a good neighbourhood watch. We must just build on it and strengthen it. There are exciting times ahead.”
Sector 4 commander Warrant Officer Mervyn Lamberts said thefts from cars, especially those parked at complexes, were the most prevalent crime in the area. Crowbar gangs were also a problem.
“Every week there are three or four cases that are reported,” he said, advising the watch to recruit members who were free to do daytime patrols.
Ward 14 councillor, Roelof Mare said he would give some of his ward allocation budget to neighbourhood watches, but it would have to spread across all 15 linked to the three police stations in his ward.
Last year, the ward money had paid for seven radios, each worth R2 000, for the Langverwacht Safety Watch and the installation in the area of a R30 000 transceiver.
When a watch member claimed the radios were broken, Mr Mare replied that they had been fixed and returned to the watch.
Mr Frieslaar reminded the watch members that they were doing an important job.
“My wife says this is a thankless job but chin up, chest out and good will prevail,” he said.