The ONW was formed to combat rising crime in the Observatory area. Based on the successful models operating in various other South African neighbourhoods, the ONW seeks to:
- Set up systems of communication (neighbourhood networks) between neighbours and in streets. The more information we share and the more we look out for each other the safer we will be.
- Send out a clear message to criminals that their presence won’t be tolerated. We should report suspicious characters or patterns of behaviour.
- Ensure that we feel safe when entering or leaving our homes, getting in and out of our cars, or walking down the street.
N.B. Home security systems are necessary but they often do not deter house-breakers.
HOW DOES IT WORK
We rely on volunteers to become street leaders or contact persons. They speak to others in the street and encourage them to join ONW; they share information and contact numbers, and ensure that people know who to phone or how to react in an emergency.
1. ONW MEMBERS
Residents can participate in the Neighbourhood Watch in various ways:
- By being our eyes and ears in the street
- By passing on information
- By assisting the street leaders
- By going on patrols
- By attending ONW meetings, raising issues, and contributing ideas
- By offering their particular skills to ONW in whatever capacity
N.B. Every resident can make a contribution by merely being aware and staying in touch.
2. THE STREET LEADER
People in the street should contact their street leader for advice or information, and should keep him or her informed of criminal activity or suspicious behavior. Even trivial crime should be reported. If you wish to volunteer or assist, contact ONW (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Street leaders keep in touch with ONW activity and news through the block leaders and via email and the google group (Obs has been divided up into 5 blocks), and by attending meetings. They can assist by:
- Keeping in contact with street members
- Acting as a conduit for information
- Communicating with the block leader and the ONW committee
- Calling street meetings if necessary
- Encouraging people to join patrols or contribute in other ways
3. THE BLOCK LEADER
The Block leader coordinates activity in his or her sector of Obs, attends committee meetings, passes on information to street leaders, and assists with particular initiatives. This may include:
- Distribution of information
- Calling street or block meetings
- Recruiting and supporting street leaders
- Linking with the ONW committee, assisting with particular initiatives.
4. THE ONW COMMITTEE
The function of the Committee is:
- To coordinate ONW activity
- To hold regular meetings, and arrange public meetings as necessary
- To liaise with SAPS Woodstock and support the Community Policing initiative
- To liaise with security companies
- To liaise with other community organizations (OCA, OBSID, etc.)
- To raise or apply for necessary funding
- To decide on priorities and formulate strategies to build an effective organization
- To handle publicity and promote the activities of ONW by means of email, the google group, the website, Facebook, flyers and newsletters
- To coordinate, develop and extend patrols
- To set up an effective two-way radio network
- To consider other options that will contribute to community safety (e.g. CCTV surveillance, the Cyclops cameras).