Battling crime and grime


This month marks a year since the Sea Point Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (SFB) started its Crime and Grime Project.

SFB coordinator Toni van Eyssen said most businesses in the area were now involved in the initiative. They have also hired a security company and NGO Straatwork to keep the streets safe as well as clean.

Ms Van Eyssen says the model for the project was based on a similar one started a few years ago by the Mouille Point Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association.

“We could see that it worked, and we didn’t have to redesign anything,” she said.

“It made a big difference to improving Mouille Point.

The association said its aim was to engage with the relevant authorities, such as the police, the council and law enforcement, to make the most of the services they provided and to ensure that residents had a say in decisions that affected them.

“A community which interacts is a cohesive force for community good,” she said.

Ward councillor Jacques Weber said any initiative to fight crime would be welcomed.

“Increased visibility of security personnel is a deterrent for criminals and therefore they will often choose another spot to commit crimes where there is a lower visibility.

“We need the community to be involved, either by reporting crimes, criminal activity or information that can lead to arrests. The introduction of community initiatives, such as the Sea Point Crime and Grime project and the Licence Plate Recognition Camera Project are having a positive benefit on the area.”

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith also welcomed the initiative.

“The City of Cape Town not only encourages active citizenship to make progress possible together, it is an enabler of active citizenship. Safety is everyone’s business, and that is why we have driven the establishment of the neighbourhood watch support programme (initially with Mayor Helen Zille in 2008), which trained more than 4 000 members in the last four years and has grown to a budget of R1.5 million a year.

“We have subsequently developed a five-point community policing support programme which includes massive innovations such as the hand radio networks for neighbourhood watches (NHWs) through the City’s radio trunking network and partnering with 16 (and growing) private CCTV networks installed by NHWs and Special ratings areas to share crime intelligence information.”

In addition, Mr Smith said the City’s safety and security directorate has one of the biggest reservist or volunteer services in the country including disaster risk management volunteers, law enforcement auxiliary service members, metro police cadets and our traffic reservists.

Sea Point police station commander Colonel Maehlo Lento, said crime prevention initiatives such as the Crime and Grime Project helped the police create awareness and encouraged community participation.

“It is a benefit to the police and the community at large. It is a known fact that we cannot do it alone and be everywhere at the same time. We enjoy (working with them) and we get a lot of information from them.”

Colonel Lento said it would be a good thing if the Crime and Grime Project continued to grow. “We want to appeal to the community to get involved in whatever form. The neighbourhood watch groups in the area do very good work.”