Creating a safe environment for all is the dream of Shakir “Shrek” Smith who has helped to launch the new Parow West Neighbourhood Watch.
The area previously had the Ward 26 Neighbourhood Watch but it was disbanded in January.
Mr Smith spoke to Parow police station commander Colonel Teboho Jacobs about his plan to establish a new watch.
This led to the meeting in the police boardroom on Thursday March 5 to launch the watch. They applied for accreditation with the Department of Community Safety the following day.
Accredited neighbourhood watches can draw on funding and training from the department.
There were about 20 people at the meeting which was chaired by the head of the Parow Community Police Forum, Deon Maneveld.
Mr Smith was elected as chairman of the new watch and said he believed he had the support of the community.
“I know they’re committed to this vision for the neighbourhood. And I know they have my back and faith in my leadership abilities.”
The new watch is part of the Sector 2 sub-forum, from Mike Pienaar Boulevard to Giel Basson Drive, from the railway line to the N1 and includes Glenlilly.
“Parow West is the biggest neighbourhood in the sector and has the biggest problems,” said Sector 2 Warrant Officer Marco Geldenhuys.
Burglaries are a big problem in the area, he says, along with petty theft and drug deals. There is also the occasional hijacking.
Mr Maneveld said crime had been low in Parow West at the end of last year but had since increased.
Everyone could get involved with the watch, he said. Even the elderly could alert patrollers from their homes.
Mr Maneveld urged patrollers to not become vigilantes but be the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood.
Watch secretary Jerome Ryneveld said he had been a patroller once in Lavender Hill and had learnt the hard way: his wife lost the twins she was carrying when an ex-con kicked her in the stomach.
If you see drug dealers, give the number plate to the police and move, don’t get involved,” he said.
Parow police station has a troubled past (“Cops bust their own on drugs, graft charges,” Northern News, September 21, 2016), but Mr Smith said he was impressed by the new leadership there.
Residents would need to work with the police to tackle crime in the area, he said.
Be vigilant of strangers in the area, report unusual activity and work on improving relationships with protectors – SAPS, law enforcement, traffic police, and the fire and traffic departments. “One of the first opportunities is to reunite the neighbourhood, in spite of some naysayers, we are optimistic that the area will become a better place for all law abiding residents.”
“We hope in time that the positive changes will attract more people to the watch and that our unity will grow stronger. We invite the local stores and businesses to come on board to help improve our neighbourhood and its surroundings. They need customers and customers need them, so joining forces will be to the benefit of all,” said Mr Smith.
Colonel Jacobs said the new watch would be good for the area.
To join Parow West Neighbourhood Watch, or provide anonymous information, call Shakir Smith at 082 504 1824.