In a nutshell
The Neighbourhood Watch Accreditation and Support Programme is an initiative of the Western Cape Department of Community Safety and is aligned to Section 6 of the Western Cape Community Safety Act of 2013. It aims to regulate and support the functioning of accredited Neighbourhood Watch Structures in the Western Cape. The Neighbourhood Watch model is founded on a whole-of-society approach to crime and violence prevention. In this way, the Neighbourhood Watches encourage and empower everyday citizens to engage in preventing and responding to crime and violence in their communities.
What we do
Communities have a need to make their immediate environments safe and the establishment of Neighbourhood Watches promotes greater involvement of citizens in the prevention of crime. Neighbourhood Watches are the most frequently recorded mechanism utilised by residents to reduce crime by looking out for suspicious activities and reporting these to police. It has been argued that visible surveillance may reduce crime as a result of its effect on the perceptions and decision making of potential offenders. Hence, watching and reporting might deter offenders if they are aware of the propensity of the local residents to report suspicious behaviour and if they perceive this as increasing risk of being caught. In this way, Neighbourhood Watches can contribute to the reduction of crime by reducing the opportunities for crime.
The NHW Accreditation and Support Programme aims to:
- Provide the necessary support to Neighbourhood Watches towards becoming sustainable and capable safety partners within Government and communities;
- Acknowledge and recognise the efforts of accredited Neighbourhood Watches in respect of their contribution towards safety, and
- Identify and document safety concerns within communities.
How we do it
All Neighbourhood Watches must first apply for Accreditation to the Western Cape Department of Community Safety. Once approved for accreditation, Neighbourhood Watches become eligible for resourcing, training and funding.
Accreditation of NHWs
Upon approval the accredited Neighbourhood Watch will receive an Accreditation Certificate as well as a “Starter Kit”. The accreditation certificate is valid for a period of two years and must be renewed three months prior to expiration in order to ensure that the accreditation does not lapse.
Training for NHWs
As part of the NHW Accreditation and Support Programme, the Western Cape Department of Community Safety (DoCS) offers a two-day basic NHW training course. The training is provided within communities throughout the Western Cape at a community hall within the area. Training is free of charge and all logistics relating to training and catering is provided by DoCS.
The training NHWs can receive, addresses the following topics:
- Introducing Strategic Objective 5
- Community Mapping
- Why Neighbourhood Watch?
- Imagining a safe and liveable neighbourhood
- Your rights and responsibilities
- Who are your partners in building a safe and liveable neighbourhood?
- Summarising – Know, be, do
- The Neighbourhood Watch Code
- Accreditation of Neighbourhood Watches (Community Safety Act)
- Safety Audits
This training module is the first step towards developing a comprehensive curriculum for NHWs and is considered as the entry level or “Basic Training” which is compulsory for all NHWs in the Province. This NHW training is viewed as the “Orientation” phase of NHW training. In the future, DoCS plans to offer training to NHWs to address issues such as, First Responder training (First Aid Level 1) and Basic Fire Fighting training.
Resources for NHWs
All accredited Neighbourhood Watches are issued with a “Starter Kit” and contains the following:
- Reflective vests;
- Strobe lights for the vehicles;
- Magnetic decals;
- A first aid kit;
- A fire extinguisher;
- Safety whistles; and
- A storage box.
It should be noted that the “Starter Kit” is a once off allocation.
Funding for NHWs
The Department of Community Safety has developed a funding model aligned to Section 6 of the Western Cape Community Safety Act of 2013 and it is envisaged that this will be implemented during the 2018/19 financial year. Departmental funds will be made available in support of accredited Neighbourhood Watches. A maximum amount of Ten Thousand Rand (R10 000) only has been made available for this purpose. Payment will be executed in two (2) tranches, subject to the terms and conditions set by the Department. The provision of funding going forward will be based on budget availability. Payments will be effected via the Government BAS payment system upon receipt of the required documentation. The funding may be utilised to cover bank charges, administration costs and or operational support of the Neighbourhood Watch Structure.
What we have achieved
- The Western Cape Community Safety Act of 2013 is now fully implemented, with the announcement of the Western Cape Safety Advisory Committee1.
- As of 18 September 2018, 284 NHWs across the Western Cape had been formally accredited. More than R2.5 million is budgeted in 2018/19 in support of NHWs throughout the province2.
What we have learned
For further information on the Neighbourhood Watch Accreditation and Support Programme, please contact:
Ms Ayesha Fortune, Deputy Director: Neighbourhood Watch Project, Western Cape Department of Community Safety:
- Tel: +27 (0)21 483 5010
- E-mail: Ayesha.Fortune@westerncape.gov.za
Adv. Jerome Norris, Assistant Director: Neighbourhood Watch Project, Western Cape Department of Community Safety:
- Tel: +27 (0)21 483 6303
- E-mail: Jerome.Norris@westerncape.gov.za
Neighbourhood Watch helpline
- Tel: +27 (0)21 483 7813
- E-mail: Neighbourhood.Watch@westerncape.gov.za