Watch thanked for drop in crime

Tammy Matthysen receives a certificate of appreciation and the Bruce Taylor Award from Meryl Butt and Brad Geyser.

Murders have shot up in Hout Bay, and many gang-related attempted murder cases are withdrawn because witnesses are afraid, says the town’s police chief.

Station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Khuthala Nebhisi told Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch’s annual general meeting last week that murders had almost quadrupled, from four to 15, in the space of a year.

But burglaries and house robberies had dropped over the same period, from 315 to 303 cases and from 48 to 34 cases, respectively, and Lieutenant-Colonel Nebhisi said the watch could be thanked for that.

“Were it not for you, these statistics might have been worse. I thank you deeply for your assistance,” she said.

Watch chairman Andrew Martin, who was re-elected unopposed at the meeting, said the watch wanted a strong partnership with the Community Crime Prevention (CCP).

He said they hoped to implement “governance structures” soon and improve local emergency control room Watchcon’s capabilities.

“We have brought together HBNW, CCP and other crime-fighting organisations under an integrated plan, while we have also revitalised sponsorship for HBNW,” he said. “ADT has not only bought into our new vision but also come to the party with money.”

The watch had partnered with the Hout Bay Community Improvement Association (HBCIA), which sources funding for local crime-fighting agencies.

Rod Panagos, in his operations report, said the watch had asked more than 70 guest house owners to warn their guests to be vigilant in Hout Bay.

“We have also reached out to residents in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg, and organised a total of 210 training sessions” he said. Training included fire safety and first aid.

In her financial report, Theresa van As said corporate donations had been stable, but individual donations had dropped off in the past year.

Tammy Matthysen received this year’s Bruce Taylor Award for her work on the Beach Safety Project. This award – named after a watch member killed in motorbike accident in 2007 – is given annually to someone deemed to have made a meaningful contribution to the watch.