When the shrill sound of a whistle is heard, it should not be mistaken for the merry tunes of the festive season but instead, alert the public that someone needs help.
The Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID) hopes its new Whistle Alert Campaign will help to stop people falling prey to criminals during the festive season.
Yesterday (Wednesday November 15), GSCID took to the streets, tackling some of the hot spots, such as the Liesbeeck trail, to hand out whistles, attached to a lanyard with a list of emergency numbers.
GSCID’s general manager, Nina Farrell, said the anti-crime initiative would use an “inexpensive and highly effective crime prevention measure” to create awareness around safety and security during the festive season.
“The focus of the Whistle Alert Campaign is to make people aware that when they hear a whistle going off, someone is in trouble or needs assistance. Whistles are shrill, loud, safe and non-violent and cannot be used as a weapon against you,” she said. “They will be especially useful to women on their own.”
The campaign is rooted in the idea of people looking out for each other.
“The idea is that if a person feels threatened or in danger, he or she should blow their whistle continuously until help arrives. Anyone in the vicinity hearing the sound can respond by blowing their whistles, if they are in possession of one, to help attract others or to scare away a possible perpetrator and to call for the necessary assistance,” Ms Farrell said.
The campaign drew some mixed views from locals, with some saying Cape Town was too violent for such a “soft approach”.
Nazeem King, from Mowbray, said:”You will find people blowing their whistles, but the criminal won’t care and instead will end up inflicting more harm on the person just to get them to keep quiet.”
But he said the campaign might work if done in tandem with more visible policing.
“The last thing you want is for somebody to be frantically blowing their whistle and nobody responds. If we have police or security on every corner, it would mean their response times would be much better and then a campaign like this would be hugely successful,” he said.
A UCT student from Mowbray, Felicity Ngwenya, believed the campaign could turn out to be a success and the start of something positive.
“I think if it’s rolled out properly and everybody responds to it positively, they could actually make this work. It would make people feel a lot safer in the streets, knowing that at a blow of a whistle, help will arrive,” she said.
“We all need to stand together to fight crime, it really is the only way.”
Ms Farrell said the most important tools of crime prevention are “alert community members who are willing to get involved”.
Anyone hearing the sound of a whistle being blown continuously is encouraged to contact one of the emergency numbers listed below:
GSCID: 086 009 4625
SAPS Claremont: 021 657 2240
SAPS Rondebosch: 021 685 7345
SAPS Mowbray: 021 680 9580
SAPS Woodstock 021 442 3100
Wynberg Law Enforcement: 107 from landline and 021 480 7700 from cellphone
CPS Control Room (UCT): 021 650 2222.
For more information about the campaign, contact 021 685 0016 or visit www.gscid.co.za