New neighbourhood watch in town

Fish Hoek CPF chairman Jonathan Mills looks on while Rob Freeman, founder of the Fish Hoek Central Neighbourhood Watch, signs the watch’s constitution.

A new neighbourhood watch is helping to keep crime out of Fish Hoek’s CBD.

The Fish Hoek Central Neighbourhood Watch’s constitution and code of conduct were officially signed by new committee members on Wednesday August 31.

Founder Rob Freeman said he had decided to start the watch after moving back to Noordhoek from Hermanus at the beginning of the year and being shocked at the deterioration of Main Road.

“I wanted to do something about it. Hermanus is safe and clean, and I want the same for Fish Hoek.”

Before registering the watch, Mr Freeman started Blow the Whistle on Crime, which handed out whistles that people could blow when in trouble.

Edith Petersen, who works at a CBD supermarket, said that initiative saved her life last month when a man on a bicycle pulled a knife on her as she walked to work.

“I just grabbed the whistle and blew it and he just left,” she said.

The new watch has six active patrollers, and, according to Mr Freeman, the “number is growing daily”.

“We also have a WhatsApp community group called Community Watch, which feeds into our neighbourhood watch.”

The watch would work with SAPS, City Law Enforcement and security companies to keep the streets safe, he said, adding that the “huge problem” of drugs and drug dealing needed urgent action.

There are nightly patrols during the week and the watch would respond to call-outs at any time if needed, he said.

“To be effective, this must be a community project as I see Fish Hoek town as the heart of our community with its schools, library, main road, railway station, businesses, beach, churches, and old age homes.”

The watch covers Beach Road, First Avenue and all roads between First Avenue and Main Road up to Lower Silvermine Wetlands, Recreation Road, Peter Creese Way, Abington Circle, Banks Road up to Abington Circle, SAP Road, Addo Road and the walkway of Fish Hoek Beach.

Fish Hoek Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Jonathan Mills said the CPF was pleased to welcome a new watch to the valley, especially for the Main Road area.

Everyone needed to lend a hand to fight crime, and an active watch that worked well with SAPS, Law Enforcement, and private security was still the first line of defence and the best deterrence against petty and opportunistic crimes, he said.

Fish Hoek police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Johnson said the CBD was a crime hot spot and a watch was badly needed there, especially on Recreation, Beach and Station roads where a lot of robberies and malicious damage to property took place.

Mr Freeman had been vetted by police and had no criminal record, she said, adding: “We welcome anyone who wants to work with the police to prevent crime.”

Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen said watches made an “immense contribution” and their mere presence made criminals think twice about committing a crime in an area.

“I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to join their neighbourhood watch, as the more residents we have involved in these structures, the better our chances to combat crime in our areas.”

Mr Freeman said: “We need to preserve our community together and by supporting us in whichever way you can, you will be helping to keep it safe.”

Contact Mr Freeman at 083 414 5035 or should you wish to join the watch.