It is a reality of life in South Africa that in one way or another, we are all affected by crime. How many people do you know that have been robbed, had their car broken into, been assaulted or even murdered?
Even if you are one of the few fortunate ones who can say that you do not know anyone who has been a crime victim, there are spin offs from the crime wave that is threatening to drown South Africa. Our insurance policies, having to live in secure estates guarded with armed personnel, security alarms and electric fencing all influence our lives in one way or another.
Yet South Africans are a resilient bunch and generally don’t take things laying down. Neighbourhood Watches are operational all over the country and the benefits of the community initiatives can be plainly seen in suburbs like Aston Bay and Paradise Beach where regular patrols take place night after night and the level of crime has been dramatically reduced.
Instead of complaining about crime, many people are prepared to lose some sleep to keep their community safe. High visibility has proven to be effective in reducing crime. The mere fact that there are vehicles patrolling with lights flashing from the roof and spot lights searching dark recesses, makes criminals nervous and keen to find easier pickings.
Many hands make light work and the more people who join a Neighbourhood Watch, the more can be accomplished. Wavecrest is a suburb that needs more people patrolling the streets to curb the scourge of housebreakings and theft of motor cars that is currently occurring in the suburb.
There are other ways that people can become involved in fighting crime. An excellent initiative is the use of technology. Trevor Watkins created a website called Gotcha where residents can report any crime that has taken place thereby alerting the rest of the community to take the necessary precautions. One can also sign up to receive news of crime that is taking place in your area.
These tools need to used by the community in the fight against crime. Join a Neighbourhood Watch or at least take the effort and report suspicious people or circumstances like a car driving around your suburb late at night to the Gotcha website. One can even join the Community Police Forum (CPF) which holds its monthly meeting at the Police Station on the first Monday of every month.
The war against crime can be won. What it will take is our time, our energy and our unfailing commitment to see justice prevail. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.