Neighbourhood watch volunteers from the Woodstock, Walmer Estate and University Estate areas will take up the task of taking the group to the airwaves, by means of a radio network. UWatch chairperson Andrew Geel said that in order to fight crime effectively, they need to improve their method of communication. He said that this method of communication will be to decrease crime and increase safety to the local community.
“The radio network will form the cornerstone of the neighbourhood watch, and will allow members to keep in contact with each other, either when on patrol or in emergency situations. Radios will also be placed at the local police station and our security partners, in order to allow us to communicate with them when required,” said Geel.
This will also better the communication between communities and those who are fighting crime such as the neighbourhood watch as well as other stakeholders in the area.
Geel said they have received the support from the local authorities and police. The network will make for easy communication where crime fighting is concerned as sometimes certain incidents or activities take way too long to be addressed.
“This improved communication will make it possible for the neighbourhood watch to react faster when dealing with criminal behaviour and allow for faster deployment of resources where and when required, radio networking is faster than making a phone call,” Geel explains.
This, he said, will have a massive impact on crime prevention, as they will be able to mobilise patrollers faster and more accurately.
However, the organisation is searching for funding to get the network up and running. Geel says the supply and installation of the device, including 10 portable radios, will cost about R75 000.
Funding of R50 000 has been allocated from ward councillor Brett Herron’s ward allocation budget, but this has yet to be approved. If this sum is approved, it will be available from the next June-July financial year. Geel says should funding be obtained, the repeater should be installed and the network operational by the end of the second quarter of this year. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)