Melkbosstrand Streetwatch launched

At the back are Constable Debbie Allard from Melkbosstrand SAPS; Annaleen van Coller, Streetwatch chairperson; Samie Kleynhans and Fritz Labuchagne, Streetwatch vice co-ordinator. In front are Melkbosstrand SAPS station commander, Captain Ronita van Toorn; Ana Lourens, Streetwatch treasurer; Tercia Peterson, Streetwatch secretary; and Milnerton Cluster Commander, Major General Aneeqah Jordaan.

Melkbosstrand Streetwatch was officially launched at the Atlantic Beach Estate.

About a hundred residents, police officers, community police forum members and the business community attended the launch held at the country club on Thursday March 14.

The streetwatch is a group of like-minded individuals and it was created to help keep the community safe.

Chairperson, Annaleen van Coller, said it took many hours of planning and convincing to finally have all the streets of their community involved.

Milnerton SAPS Cluster Commander, Major General Aneeqah Jordaan, said she supports such initiatives but always warns people to be cautious too. “As much as we like to encourage people do be more involved so we fight crime together, we don’t want people to engage criminals. Be our eyes and ears and let the police handle crime because these situations can become dangerous. Having said that, we support this initiative and I am sure that it will be a success,” she said.

Ms Van Coller said they started in 2016 with five streets and now they have all 170 streets on board. “We are here to officially launch the Melkbosstrand Streetwatch. “This is the first time in the whole Milnerton cluster that an area has all their streets in WhatsApp groups.

“I am linked to all the groups and I am also linked to the police. So, when I get crime reports or awareness things, I send it to the groups. We are the eyes and ears and our cellphones are our cameras. We all have a small part to play in the big picture in the fight against crime,” she said.

Melkbosstrand station commander Captain Ronita van der Toorn, said they got involved in this initiative because they want the neighbourhood to be safe.

“We also would like to discourage people from using social media as a negative tool to bash our area and others. We want people to be sensitive when making any posts about the area and the residents who live in it. Together, we can make this a success,” said Captain Van der Toorn.

Melkbosstrand Community Police Forum chairperson, Samie Kleynhans, praised Ms Van Coller for her time and effort into getting the streetwatch to where it is today.

“This is a remarkable achievement that Annaleen has done. This evening is proof that she has done well. The fact that all these people are here tonight, means that we all want to get something done and we can definitely achieve a lot more together,” he said.

Major General Jordaan also made a call to residents to report any and all crimes.

“People shouldn’t be afraid to come forward to report crimes. Even if you see a member of the police committing a crime, you must report it. There are no special favours for SAPS members who are involved in crime. In my years as cluster commander, I have locked up 15 police members for corruption,” she said.

Ms Van Coller thanked the sponsors, Harry White from Atlantic Beach, Edgar Loxton, Pierre van der Burgh from Autoking Milnerton, Stefan Meintjies from Damhuis and the streetwatch committee.