Partnerships needed in fight against crime

Keith Blake, Ottery

We are entering a new year with its many challenges and issues that we cannot ignore but have to face and deal with as a nation. One of these is crime prevention.

The top dog in the yard is the South African Police Services who have to try to prevent crime with their presence, operational plans and community communication but they cannot do it alone; they have to do this in conjunction with partners and this is very clear in the South African Police Service Act no.68 of 1995 section 18 (1) (a)m, which states that they must establish and maintain a partnership between the community and SAPS.

As part of this partnership, you and I cannot sit on the fence doing nothing and expect others to do something.

First and foremost we must support SAPS and respect SAPS as they carry out their motto Servamus et Servami –
we protect and we serve.

We as individuals must become legal crime preventers in our own right, ensuring that we take steps to safeguard our families and our properties. There are many ways of doing this, for example installing alarms, keeping watch dogs, keeping all property under lock and key and taking heed of crime trends in your area.

We must join the community registered neighbourhood watches and play an active role to patrol.

Businesses have to come on board and install proper surveillance cameras and alarms and hire registered security officers to do protection on their premises.

Security officers are valuable partners who need to be respected.

The other security services that do not seem to be appreciated are the uniformed car guards at parking
areas.

They are important in preventing car theft and theft out of our motor vehicles, and our personal safety, and we reward their service and presence without recognition and sometimes with a meagre tip.

This year take a new look at these dedicated men and women and appreciate them.

One of the biggest themes in crime prevention is the lack of communication, so promote communication between SAPS and the community.

Community members do not attend imbizos and community policing forum meetings when it is advertised, so only a few are informed of issues regarding crime.

These meetings should be full house and promote joint problem-identification and problem-solving.

Our local councillors also have a major role to play in partnership with SAPS as they can help create structures or environmental design in crime prevention.

Mr Blake is a retired police officer and active in various community projects.