Community Safety is Your Right
16 August 2022 – For immediate release
Some of our members may be old enough to recall the days when families and their children could move around without fear of being attacked. The days when children of the neighbourhood could safely play in the street or a nearby park.
SAPS at senior level are quoted multiple times admitting that they cannot control crime in a general context and at community level in South Africa. This doesn’t mean that we lose hope. It means that we should create our own hope.
While many may point at the failure of the government to get control of crime, we ought to be looking inwards before we point at others. In this short guide, Safe Citizen shares some ideas with you – ideas that if even one were implemented where you live and where your children play, may make a difference to your family.
IT STARTS IN YOUR HOME AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
(The shake-a-neighbor’s-hand challenge)
The people that live in your street also want the same as you – to enjoy what you have worked for and to live in peace and safety. Your family and the two neighbours on each side, working together on security, caring for one another will already make a big difference to your own family. Just imagine if the whole street, and then the whole neighbourhood worked together and cared for one another!
We challenge you today to meet your neighbours with a smile and a handshake. Build a friendship, share your concerns, agree to look out for each other. Someone must have the guts to do it first. It is easier than you think. And after the first meeting you may wonder why you didn’t do it long ago.
- Look out for your neighbour leaving or arriving and make a date for a chat ‘about looking after each other.’
- At the first chat be honest about your concerns in the neighbourhood. Tell your neighbour about some of your fears for community safety and share your vision of what you wish the community would be like.
- Ask for and promise to keep confidential, the cell numbers of the neighbour’s family (this trust may take some time). You could do this by stressing how useful it is for safety to be able to whatsapp or call each other in an emergency, or if for instance, you notice strange people outside your neighbour’s home.
- Find out how your neighbour’s security is arranged and how it works. For example, if he has armed response and you can’t afford it, it is easy for him to report a concern in the street outside your houses and you may benefit from an armed response patrol vehicle arriving.
- As you get to know each other better, you can develop an emergency plan, including signals, noises, lights, WhatsApp, and other plans to call for help.
- You could be aware of when your neighbour is travelling and his family is alone, and he – yours.
- The community could have a WhatsApp group to post only community safety-related messages for the whole community. See this link for guidelines on properly controlling such a group across a diverse community: How to create a group on WhatsApp and remember to visit the SAFE CITIZEN SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE on our web site.
- Join the Community Policing Forum and play a role in supporting your local SAPS. By being involved and committed – as a community - you will cause a great increase in confidence in the local SAPS and a new level of discomfort for the criminals in the neighbourhood.
- Don’t confront criminals physically or publicly – observe, record and report what you see or learn to an appropriate person who has the authority and the ability to be involved. By being out and about and knowing who belongs, you will be able to spot strangers.
- Arrange community events like a weekend braai at the park, a walk to the park with the kids and dogs, a soccer game.
- If there is a neighbourhood watch join it and get involved. If there isn’t one contact a reputable public service organisation to assist your community in starting one.
- Be confident of your right to a safe community – stand up for what is good. Take back your block, your street, your neighbourhood.
In our next communication on this topic, we will share ideas on neighbourhood watches and community emergency plans. Please share this with others, and remember – a lawfully armed citizen is a Safe Citizen.
Please direct enquiries to Jonathan Deal through WhatsApp on 076-838-5150 or on email at email@example.com