■ Around 150 neighbourhood watch members took part in a joint CPF operation last week Friday.

A joint Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) operation with police and various neighbourhood watch groups took place last week ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer for the City Bowl.

The main purpose of the operation last Friday, November 25, was to highlight the importance of visible policing during the holidays but several arrests were also made.

CPF chairperson Nicola Jowell said they were joined on the operation by more than 150 neighbourhood watch members from Thornton, Maitland, Pinelands, Kensington and as far as Gordon’s Bay who came to support them and for which she was thankful.

“This operation was a particularly good one with a huge number of people taking part and it sets off the policing for the festive season in a very positive way. The South African Police Service (SAPS) brings in extra resources, we work in partnership with Law Enforcement and the Traffic Department as well as our normal partners, the CIDS (City Improvement Districts).”

Ms Jowell said a number of arrests were made for drunk driving, drug possession, drug dealing and possession of dangerous weapons.

“What is difficult to quantify are the numbers and impact in terms of crime prevention and we know that for the duration of these operations we have less crime reported to the police. There was also very good enforcement of the liquor legislation in our hotspot areas.”

She added that resources were expected to be stretched to the limit during the holidays.

“It’s a massive drain on all resources and SAPS will be on full deployment with no leave during this period. The CPF will aim to keep people updated of what is happening in their areas and we rely on our neighbourhood watch partners to assist in the communication to their members. We are also there to support SAPS in their activities over this period.”

Ms Jowell’s advice to residents during in the festive season was to get to know their neighbours. “Know when your neighbours are away so that you can be alert should there be any suspicious sounds or people around. “Have the contact numbers for your neighbours and perhaps their keys. Make sure you are aware of the information that your neighbourhood watch puts out in terms of what to be on the lookout for and current trends. And don’t flash your valuables around. Walking down the street chatting or texting on an expensive cellphone does unfortunately make you vulnerable so rather keep valuables in your bag and never, never leave anything (valuable or not) in your vehicle.”

Captain Ezra October, spokesperson for the Cape Town Central Police Station, said the purpose of the operation was to promote visible policing. Captain October added that the Cape Town Central Integrated Operational Festive Season Plan was already up and running. “Cape Town Central Police would like to wish all our community a safe and prosperous festive season,” he said.

Councillor for Ward 115, Dave Bryant, also took part in the operation on Friday night.

“A great deal of the work is done behind the scenes by ordinary members of the community who are committed to making their areas safer. As councillors we must walk the talk and join in where possible to show respect for those putting in such hard work in their communities. The presence of such a large contingent of patrollers certainly had an impact and the area felt quite safe overall.”

Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), said they took part to provide logistical support. “The theme of the CCID’s Annual General Meeting that took place a few weeks ago was ‘Partnerships’ and from a security point of view one of our most enduring and valuable partners in the CBD has been the Cape Town CPF . Its volunteers have worked tirelessly to bring together all the relevant role players to work as one and ensure a safer community.

“Joint safety operations such as the one conducted on Friday night are just one example of the sterling work the CPF does - often under trying circumstances - and its members should be commended for their enormous contribution to the central city.”