Watches fight crime together

Residents belonging to the local neighbourhood watches (NHWs) have collaborated to curb crime in their areas in recent weeks.

Councillor for the area, Kevin Southgate, who himself has been part of the Community Policing Forum (CPF), says that there have been some successes, which without the collaboration would probably not have been achieved.

“At a CPF meeting, it was reported that there were two hijackings in the area and as a result of the support given by the NHWs, both vehicles were recovered in the area.

“The vehicle was hijacked in Heathfield and found in Retreat because of the communication between NHWs in Retreat and NHWs in Heathfield. There was a person who was reported missing and as a result of the awareness of the NHW, the person was found,” explains Southgate.

Steenberg CPF chairperson Gavin Walbrugh says that because a resident reported the matter to the nearest patrol group, they were able to act on the information­.

“The vehicle had a wheel lock on the left rear wheel and Somerset Park patrollers picked up markings in the road. They followed the markings through Heathfield into Retreat through the avenues and eventually found the vehicle in Golden Road behind Hot Spot.

“There was a white Hyundai Getz with four occupants and a white Ford bakkie with no tailgate and two occupants near the vehicle. They sped off when they saw the patrollers. The bakkie was recovered and towed back to the owner’s residence in Heathfield,” Walbrugh confirms.

Along with retrieving stolen vehicles, patrol groups within the CPF prevented an innocuous fire from burning out of control at a petrol station in Military Road.

“The Steenberg CPF is extremely thankful to the men and women of the Steenberg Community Policing Forum for braving the elements to patrol at night to ensure our communities are safe. We would like to encourage the community to join NHWs or street watches in the area,” Walbrugh says.

Meanwhile, Southgate adds that NHWs do need more support and he has sought out a few businesses in the area to help the respective organisations.

“I looked at how I could assist. I approached three businesspeople in the area­.

“Between the three of them they gave me R3500, which was enough to purchase eight two-way radios. [The Safety and Security department] indicated to me that they didn’t have radios at the moment, so I shared the need with local businesses and was overwhelmed by the immediate response I got from businesses.”

V To join or find out more about the Steenberg CPF, contact Steenberg Police Station on 021 702 9000 or the CPF on 073 636 8990.