Dear Darling Watch Members and Neighbours. With only three weeks to Christmas, the working year is coming to a close. Remember that unlawful activities tend to increase at this time, so whilst we wish to spread good cheer amongst our community, there is also a need to maintain normal security measures and to be alert to any unusual activity. Complacency is our enemy.
The Darling Watch is YOUR voluntary Neighbourhood Watch organization. Along with the CPF we monitor crime around us, develop co-operative relationships and strategies with SAPS, Law Enforcement, local Security Companies, other Neighbourhood and Farm Watches, the surrounding towns and suburbs and try to stay abreast of trends that may affect us sooner or later. We conduct patrols day and night and rely heavily on your support to make this work effectively. Currently your Executive Committee (ExCom) is actively meeting with key players, particularly SAPS, Law Enforcement and Swartland Councillors to establish priorities and develop cross-support agreements for the future. Early next year we will focus on the Farm Watches and the parallel community organisations in adjacent towns.
During November there have been a few local incidents in Darling-South and some of these are flagged below.
According to data for November provided to us by SAPS:
- There has been a “stabilization” in our contact crimes (crimes against a person where a person or people are injured or threatened with injury during the committing of a crime).
- Darling-South had no assault incidents, however Darling-East was affected.
- Property-related crimes increased, with residential housebreakings still a major concern in Yzerfontein. Darling-East is also an area of concern in this crime category.
- Other serious crimes showed a steep decrease.
Although in general Darling-South had low crime reporting figures on all types of crime, your ExCom is not yet satisfied with the detail of the data provided by SAPS. Although trends are given for the various crime categories, they lack specific detail or the quantum of events. Accordingly we have to rely on word-of-mouth reporting or worse still, year-old national statistics. Meaningful or timely decisions about hot spots, changing crime techniques or trends, are extremely difficult in this environment. Your ExCom is taking further action on this matter.
National and Neighbouring crime trends for November:
- This month we received a report that Police reservists in South Africa have declined by 82% over the past 8 years. Reservists are a free resource to SAPS and there can be no justification for a severely under-resourced body like SAPS to allow such deterioration. This is a national and provincial issue and not in the control of SAPS locally.
- The national trend by SAPS in withholding statistical information about current crime statistics is something we have to strenuously work towards changing. It is difficult to make useful decisions when the public does not have sufficient access to information.
- On the 14th of November there were violent service delivery protests in Vredenburg with tyre burnings and road closures. Protests then moved to Saldanha. Clinics, other municipal buildings and vehicles were set alight or damaged and shops looted.
- On the 21st of November there was a service delivery protest march to the Swartland Municipality in Malmesbury. A memorandum of demands with deadlines was handed over to the Mayor. A further march took place on the 30th of November. The Malmesbury protest actions were relatively peaceful and well monitored with a strong SAPS presence.
- We need to monitor protest events as property damage and looting are not an uncommon outcome, often perpetrated by radical elements or ordinary criminals taking advantage of the situation.
Darling-South incidents report for November:
- Young man with iPad standing outside museum. Apparently looking for free WiFi. Further strengthens the need for us to sponsor a properly located free WiFi facility.
- 7th November: Four hooded kids throwing stones at cars and houses near Brig’s Barn.
- 8th November: Suspicious car entered property in Langfontein Street after cutting lock from fence. Watch members responded but vehicle had already left. Turns out to be an authorised entry. Good spotting and reporting by neighbour.
- 9th November: Elderly woman robbed of her shopping on Long Street. Culprit arrested.
- Several reports of people going through rubbish bins and bags. Usual response is for Watch members to move these people on, but this can eventually get out of hand. First response seems to be the need to only put rubbish out immediately before the weekly collection. Otherwise lockable bins, which open on inversion into the truck is an option that will be explored. Note that other Watch areas where we have specific knowledge, have a deluge of rubbish emptied into the streets each week. Sometimes bins are simply overturned and left like that. In Gardens, Cape Town, the Watch is forced to fund a weekly street clean-up programme, which nets up to 1300 bags of street rubbish each month. The monthly costs to the Watch are significant.
- 14th November: Young man with white glove checking car doors in Main Street.
- Reports of loud weekend parties. Apparently alcohol-fuelled. We should develop a response plan, so that Darling residents are not held hostage to hoodlum behaviour, nor at risk of injury in any confrontation. Suggestions welcome please.
- 27th November: 5 small children hanging around Prospect St. One child armed with 8 inch knife. Kids fled on confrontation and knife retrieved and handed to police.
- 28th November: 5 kids, all wearing “hoodies” around Spar area and Station Street. Chased by Spar security and Watch members.
Holiday safety tips:
It is a known fact that crime increases during holiday periods. With the upcoming festive season and holidays it is important that you take precautions to protect yourself, your family and your property. Below are some holiday safety tips to keep in mind.
- Make sure the outside of your home is well lit.
- Keep doors and windows closed and locked when you are not at home.
- Avoid bushes and shrubbery concealing windows or doors.
- If you are going away ask a friend or neighbour to collect your mail and deliveries.
- Be aware of strangers and keep an eye out for suspicious persons.
- Do not open your door to strangers and be wary of people soliciting or saying they represent certain organizations.
- Do not give information about yourself or your neighbours to strangers.
- Keep valuables out of plain sight and not visible to opportunistic thieves.
- Do not leave your garage doors open, even when you are home or working in the garden.
- Keep car doors locked and windows up especially when stopping at a robot or stop sign.
- Avoid walking alone or arriving home on your own, especially at night. Ask members of the community to accompany you.
- Avoid isolated ATMs or using them at night, especially if you are alone.
- Write down serial numbers of valuable items or engrave them for easy identification. This will make it easier for SAPS to apprehend thieves and retrieve stolen goods.
We wish you a blessed and safe festive season.
On behalf of the Executive Committee.
Contact us for more information, give us your feedback and support your Darling Watch. Please also encourage more residents to join and support Darling Watch.
Chairman Deputy Chairman Secretary Treasurer
Riaan Neethling David Wallace Gary Barrows Maxine Lazar
082-5532511 082-3076485 083-5338630 082- 9204404