Boots on the ground in Joe Slovo, Phoenix

Ward 4 Neighbourhood Watch members and Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagan Allen, at a safety patrol operation in Joe Slovo and Phoenix on Friday September 2.

Neighbourhood watches in the Milnerton area took to the streets of Joe Slovo and Phoenix last Friday night on a safety patrol.

They were accompanied by SAPS, City Law Enforcement and traffic officers.

There are about five active neighbourhood watches in Ward 4, namely Milnerton Central, Phoenix, Summer Greens, Milnerton Ridge and Sunset Beach.

Liete van der Eeems, from the Milnerton Central Neighbourhood Watch, said they worked closely with SAPS, Law Enforcement, Metro Police and armed-response companies to keep communities safe and the patrol was meant to increase their visibility in the area.

“Active patrolling is important as a crime deterrent because when criminals see that community structures are active, they will think twice before committing a crime,” she said.

Neighbourhood watches acted as the “eyes and the ears” of law enforcement agencies by reporting suspicious activities and incidents, she said.

According to the latest national crime statistics, released last month, violent robberies in Milnerton increased 26%, from 103 cases in the period from April 1 to the end of June last year to 130 cases in the same period this year.

Phoenix Neighbourhood Watch chairman Russel Capes said there had been a spate of armed robberies in Phoenix and Joe Slovo in the past few weeks.

“We have too much crime going down in our area that is getting out of hand, and we cannot allow this anymore. The only way to stop this is for the residents to join and help neighbourhood watches fight crime,” he said.

Mark Lindsell, from the Milnerton Community Police Forum, said they were concerned by the number of violent crimes reported in the Joe Slovo area, and lighting there needed to be improved.

Mr Lindsell said Joe Slovo residents seemed to take little pride in their community and they needed to find a way to restore it.

“You can see there is rubbish everywhere because it is easier to throw rubbish on the ground than put it in a bin. So for me it is a matter of trying to find some way of restoring pride in the community that is here,” he said.

Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagan Allen, who joined the patrol, said it was important for watches to have good working relationships with other law-enforcement agencies.

The police lacked the resources to deal with crime alone, and his department would continue to support SAPS to address the issue of staff shortages and lack of resources, he said.

Mark Lindsell from Milnerton CPF, Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagan Allen, Phoenix Neighbourhood Watch committee member Ivan Cloete and Phoenix Neighbourhood Watch chairman Russel Capes.