Despite having just 45 members in an area with around 10 000 people, the Summer Greens Neighbourhood Watch (SGNW) came second in the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Awards for 2017.
The top award was presented to Table View Neighbourhood Watch at a ceremony hosted by the City of Cape Town and the provincial Department of Community Safety at the civic centre last Monday, March 26.
The awards saw more than 80 NHW structures and members nominated for one of the 34 awards split into three broad categories to recognise and celebrate teams of distinction (Bronze Awards), individual excellence (Silver Awards), as well as outstanding achievement awards (Gold Awards).
SGNW won four awards which also included Mobiliser of the Year for chairman Reagan Croeser, the Broken Window Award for the whole watch; and Skills Master of the Year award for watch member, Feerouza Kruger.
The SGNW was started in 2011 as the Sector 4 Neighbourhood Watch and it was officially registered in 2012. It was founded by residents, Trevor Burger and Stephen Christian. Mr Burger was the first elected chairman and Mr Christian is still an active neighbourhood watch member but Mr Burger does not live in the area anymore.
Mr Croeser, a Summer Greens resident for 14 years, has been chairman for the past two years. “I joined the watch in 2014 and only after a couple of months, I was asked to join the executive committee, where I was voted in as operations manager. I ran for two consecutive years and from my successes and dedication, I was voted in as chairman,” said Mr Croeser.
He said the watch was started after a few residents noticed that the crime rate in the area was increasing as more people moved in.
“Summer Greens was always a very small and clean community,” he said.
He said to an extent, they have a good relationship with the community.
What keeps the members motivated is that they are also residents and parents in the community. According to Mr Croeser, they would like their children to grow up in a cleaner and safer environment.
“We already have a shortage of SAPS members and we as the watch have taken a step in ownership and becoming the eyes and ears for SAPS,” he said.
The watch feels like they can make a difference and reduce crime in the community by being visible.
In December, the SGNW received a certificate of accreditation from Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato.
They attend all training given by the Department of Community Safety and the City of Cape Town to upskill their members.
Mr Croeser said they are actively involved in community projects and as chairman, he has been elected as safety and security representative on the Summer Greens Residents’ Association for the past two years.
“We have built good relationships with partners such as SAPS, Law Enforcement, Traffic and Metro. We partake in power patrols with surrounding neighbourhood watches. Our dedication and commitment is to making Summer Greens a safer community,” said Mr Croeser.
In a statement after the Neighbourhood Watch Awards, Mr Plato said neighbourhood watches form a crucial part in the united front against crime. “As a province and as a City, we rely on you as ordinary residents in our communities to help keep us safe. Working under the auspices of the Western Cape Community Safety Act, the Western Cape government continuously look for ways to better support and develop our neighbourhood watches – not only in the City but across the province,” he said.
Mr Croeser would like to make a call to residents of Summer Greens to join the watch and if not, at least make efforts in assisting by reporting suspicious activity to 072 874 1697.
“Forming street committees is also a good start and if you would like to know more about this please contact us,” he said.