Fewer than 30 people attended a police imbizo in Table View last week; most of them were from the community police forum, the neighbourhood watch or the residents’ association.
The imbizos give residents a chance to raise issues with the police directly, but the hundreds of empty seats at the Church on the Rise on Thursday night pointed to a big disconnect between the police and the community.
Andile Peter, chairman of the Table View Residents’ Association said the turn-out was shocking for a community of more than 130 000 people.
“If, as communities, don’t stand up for our safety, we won’t be safe. We can’t depend on a few to keep us safe,” said Mr Peter.
Residents couldn’t expect the police and neighbourhood watch to fight crime by themselves.
Table View station commander Colonel Dirk Vosloo, said residents were “showing a lack of interest” because most of the crimes in the area were property-related, such as burglaries with “low numbers” for contact crimes, such as murders, sexual assaults and robberies.
“I can assure you, if the numbers were the other way around, this hall would be full,” he said.
Table View Ratepayers’ Association spokeswoman Mandy da Matta said the community needed to be united.
“The time for armchair commentary is over. We have to join hands as civic organisations and help the police,” said Ms Da Matta.
If 20% of the 130 000 people in the area joined of the civic organisations, a lot could be done, she said.