Tackling crime in Kenwyn

DR E V Rapiti, Kenwyn

I attended a general meeting of the Kenwyn Neighbourhood Watch on Tuesday May 31 and was left most impressed by the work done by a group of about 20 members, who have been protecting the residents for the past two years.

I felt a bit uncomfortable that these unsung heroes were making huge sacrifices, impacting on their family lives and pockets to patrol the area at night without complaining to keep the residents safe.

Crime in Kenwyn has dropped by over 60% since the group has been patrolling the area. They spend huge amounts of money to purchase bullet proof vests, night vision goggles and flash lights for their cars.

They are so dedicated that some of them would leave work to help a resident in distress.

They are truly our unsung heroes and that is not how it should be; we should be singing their praises.

The group has managed to avert many crimes through their swift response.

One of them was when 15 of them responded to a wife’s distress call.

They arrived just in time to save her husband from being stabbed by a would-be thief.

This action was only possible because the family belonged to the block’s WhatsApp crime watch group.

All residents should make it a point to have their names added to their block’s group in order to keep abreast of what’s happening in our areas.

If you are in distress or in a threatening situation, just text the group with your address and members will come to your rescue before the armed response does. It’s the way to go.

The committee, headed by Andrew Steyn, has strongly recommended that we cover Kenwyn with high-tech cameras to beat the likes of the crow-bar gangs and other criminals.

The crow-bar gangs are highly sophisticated in their modus operandi. They go out to break into houses like one would go out to do a normal job.

They do this within about four minutes, so they are not put off by alarms because the best response time by the armed response companies is 12 minutes and the police arrive too late to stop them.

These cameras cost about R50 000 a piece. Kenwyn needs about eight cameras to cover the eight entry points from Lansdowne Road on the one side and Racecourse Road on the other.

For every camera that the residents purchase, the City of Cape Town will match it with another, so residents need to come up with the money for four and the City will provide the other four.

Kenwyn has about 1 850 houses, so all that is required is for each house to make a once-off payment of R100, which would cover the cost of the four cameras.

If one plans to live in Kenwyn for another 20 years, this will work out to 41 cents a month to safeguard properties, their families and valuables.

This is a small price for such a huge benefit, considering some of the properties are worth in excess of R2 million rands and our monthly rates are just around a thousand rand a month.

The neighbourhood watch members patrol at night and the crowbar gangs operate in the day, when most people leave their homes unattended.

Most nearby residential areas have chosen the route of installing cameras because of the strong commitment by its residents.

If Kenwyn is not covered by cameras, then we will be an easy target for these gangs. The cameras are highly sophisticated.

They can spot vehicles that are involved in crime.

This information is immediately relayed to the central rooms and to the police, who can immediately respond before a crime occurs.

Ideally, if every resident makes the contribution, we could have the cameras installed before summer, when crime is at its worst.

Having started the first neighbourhood watch back in 1992, I am aware that not everyone is willing or able to contribute, so I suggest if the majority pay up, the shortfall can be made up by others, who are willing to contribute more.

I wish to appeal to residents to seriously consider contributing to this very viable and necessary option to keep our area safe.

For more information on how to help, email me at robertrapiti@gmail.com or the neighbourhood watch at KenwynNHW@gmail. com