Fear is a terrible thing

A year ago, almost to the date I said goodbye to my second floor flat in Hout Bay and moved – just down the road – into a small tranquil leafy complex where the children play in the streets, neighbours wave hallo and all the dogs are best friends.

My cottage overlooks the wetlands and a section of Skoorsteenkop and to me, it is heaven.

And until recently, my neighbours and I have all been rela- tively sheltered from the wave of crime that washed through the valley.

When an intruder made his way into the complex a few months ago, we were all surprised. When he came back for a second and third time we were shocked and when he decided to come and visit every week, breaking into cars and roaming the streets of the complex, we became concerned.

Fear is a terrible thing and for the first time in my three years in Hout Bay, I woke up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding, fearing there might be an intruder in my back garden.

Since the intruder’s first visit, I have had sensor lights and cameras put up on my front patio. Follow- ing another visit from the persist- ent intruder last week, and a family being attacked in Empire Road, I decided to have a sen- sor light installed in my back yard too.

On Monday around 3am the sensor was activated and my backyard lit up like a Christmas tree.

Naturally, the light woke me up and my first thought was: Someone is here. Why else would the light come on?

I jumped out of bed – a million thoughts going through my head.

Who will I call if there is someone in my garden? What will I do if he tries to break in? Where will I go if he is already in the house?

I yanked the curtains open, preparing myself to look the man in the face but instead of an intruder, two towels, dancing to the rhythm of the breeze on the washing line greeted me.

Relief washed over my body but I could still feel my heart pounding in my throat.

What if it wasn’t the towels, I thought? This time I pulled the curtains back slowly, peeked out, still expecting to see an intruder, but nothing. I climbed back into bed and the light came on again. I knew I had to take the towels off the washing line but I was too scared to go outside. Fear is a terrible thing.

In recent months, the crime-fighting efforts of Community Crime Prevention (CCP), and the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch (HBNHW) have made a huge difference in the lives of the community as well as residents who have fallen victim to crimes in the Bay.

If you go to bed at night fearing that an intruder could come snooping around your back yard, make sure you support the CCP or the HBNHW.

For more information about joining the CCP, email info@ ccphoutbay.co.za or for the HBNHW, call Doreen Malan on 021 790 1098.