Visible patrols deter crime

Members of the Glenwood Neighbourhood Watch meet at the Glenwood shopping centre every evening to start their patrol of the area.

During the last year, there have been only three incidents of crime in the Glenwood area.

On separate occasions, a portable gas-braai was stolen, a vehicle was stripped of its wheels and a trespasser made off with a laptop and wallet after a door was left unlocked.

Jas Visser, the deputy chairman of the Glenwood Neighbourhood Watch, says that although crime is minimal, they do remind residents to be vigilant.

“The residents, the shoppers and the homeless people that are often in the area know the Glenwood neighbourhood patrollers because we are regularly in the streets,” Mr Visser said.

“We have had so little criminal activity in the last 12 months and it’s due to visibility and having open communication with residents, the police and the homeless.”

Glenwood Neighbourhood Watch chairman James Ellis said they had only 13 volunteer patrollers but those volunteers were dedicated to the cause of maintaining a safe neighbourhood.

“We have a handful of people that we can count on. We meet in the parking lot of this shopping centre (Glenwood) to make sure that the employees of the stores get their rides home safely, and once they are gone then we patrol the streets,” he said.

“We have residents that are supporting us, and we work closely with the police and the armed response companies in the area. The local Spar is supporting us, as they can see the good changes and another company will come on board soon to support us. The patrollers are doing an excellent job and it shows.”

The patrollers get tip-offs from some of the homeless people in the area.

“There are a few homeless guys that will tell us when there are new people joining their squatter camps, or when they see troublemakers,” Mr Ellis said. “They understand our role and we are respectful of their being, we treat them with compassion.”

The watch also checked in regularly with the police, he said. “We are here to assist each other and it’s working well.”

Goodwood police spokesman Captain Waynne Theunis said neighbourhood watch patrols had an important role to play in keeping communities safe.

“The police cannot be everywhere all the time. So with neighbourhood watch we have people, volunteers, that are committed to the safety of their communities, and we trust them to alert us to suspicious activities,” he said.

“They do more than just patrol; they do victim support, and we can call on them to support us in searching for suspects. They are an asset to the communities and to the police.”

While crime is seemingly non-existent in this suburb, the Glenwood Neighbourhood Watch is nevertheless busy installing CCTV cameras to keep it that way.