City and Western Cape Government sign historic agreement to bolster neighbourhood watches

The City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Community Safety signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) earlier today, committing to support accredited neighbourhood watches. The MOU recognises the organisations as capable partners in the fight against crime. Read more below:

Members from neighbourhood watch organisations around the city witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government on 30 September 2017.

The agreement cements the relationship between the City and the Department of Community Safety with numerous neighbourhood watches and provides for assistance and recognition of these community organisations.

The agreement reached between the two spheres of government this week aims to see coordinated and complementary support under a legal framework created for neighbourhood watch structures within the Western Cape Community Safety Act.

The ceremonial signing took place during a mass information session with watch members from across the metro.

‘We are committed to helping neighbourhood watches become functional, accountable and capable partners in the fight against crime. The City of Cape Town is aware of the impact they make in their communities and we commend them for it. For this reason, we provide watches with significant resources in line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan priority to create safer communities by working with residents,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

Over the last decade, the City has invested millions of rands to train volunteers and provide neighbourhood watch organisations with equipment like jackets, torches, bicycles, hand radios and radio base stations for their watch rooms and has partnered with these organisations to install and share information between CCTV camera networks.

‘We train members to be fully-fledged law enforcement auxiliary service reservists. This has assisted in expanding the number of active neighbourhood watch members to an estimated 50 000. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and the volunteers who are part of watches are crucial to making our communities safer. Neighbourhood watches foster a deeper sense of community and encourage residents to get to know each other. This makes it easier to recognise suspicious activity in an area. The watches are force multipliers in the fight against crime, expanding our abilities and assisting us in making communities more secure,’ said Alderman Smith.

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