Zero Incidents on the Beach again - Report by Robert Herbertson
Neighbourhood Watch once again organised teams to patrol the Beach from 10.00am to 6.00pm over the festive season as a preventative measure against crime and disorderly conduct on the Hout Bay beach.
This year's efforts were notable for several reasons, the most important of which was that no crimes against persons or property were perpetrated during "Our Watch". HBNW cannot claim all the plaudits for this most satisfactory result, and, in
particular, the presence of Law Enforcement officers in numbers, and the Life-savers prevented many of the incidents happening that were a source of concern from previous years. A total of 84 shifts for the HBNW volunteers were scheduled over the period, and not a single one was missed.
The beaches were more populated than ever before, which reflected as much on the almost perfect weather as on the beach attractions. Nevertheless, the division of the beach into three areas for the use of bathers and dog owners certainly improved the "Beach Experience" for both groups, and contributed in no small measure to the prevention of opportunistic "muggings" as a result of the dunes being populated by free-running dogs and their owners. To the people who so selflessly gave up their time to undertake the patrols, and who's commitment and attitude reflects so well on the spirit of the Neighbourhood Watch movement in Hout Bay, all the users of the beach amenities will surely offer a great big Vote of Thanks.
Beach Safety Project 2011/2012
Zero Incidents on the Beach over the holiday season - Sentinel 13 Jan 2012, by Lindy Nauta
Beach patrollers were invited to a small function in the garden of the Hout Bay Museum. In particular Tammy Matthyssen was highly praised for the efforts she put in throughout the entire duration of the project. Here she is with Julie Banham (chairperson of the HBNW), patroller Tom de Gale of Meadows and Mike Rigg of VenSec.
HBNW Beach Patrols have notched up another zero Incident holiday season for the fourth time since the project was started. Three weeks of back to back, two hour patrols by yellow-vested volunteers, from 10am to 6pm daily, with patrollers keeping an eye out over the visitors to the beach.
After Robert Herbertson setup the final roster, it was Tammy Matthysen who coordinated the daily patrolling. She was tireless in her efforts to make the patrols run smoothly and spent every day of her holiday at the SAPS trailer on the Chapmans Peak of the beach. “Of the almost forty volunteers who took part in the project, only onedid not turn up”, says Tammy. She was also quite ruthless in summoning her friends to do a patrol when someone dropped out at the last moment, including Elroy Basson, paramedic, instructor and bodyguard at Ronin, my Boxing Day patrol partner. Even Warrant Officer Denzil Lesch volunteered to do a patrol, aside from his SAPS duties.
The four year-record of an incident-free holiday on Hout Bay beach almost went pear shaped on the very last day, when a young boy was found lying face-down on the edge of the sea. Well known Hout Bay surfer Danie Barnard realized immediately what that meant and Tammy radio’d WatchCon. They boy was taken to hospital for a few critical days of observation after his near-drowning.
Patrollers dealt mainly with overzealous revelers, wanting to enter the water. Louise Read of Helgarda, after several warnings, even waded waist-deep into the water to persuade an unsteady visitor to get out – which he eventually did. There were the odd suspects walking in between the sunbathers with eagle eyes, they were swiftly asked to move on by equally eagle-eyed patrollers. An injured seal, tangled up in fishing wire, caused quite a sensation with various organizations, including the NSRI, coming to its aid. Bathers letting their children play in the notoriously contaminated Disa River were advised to find another safer spot on the beach.
“The cooperation between the various organization was fantastic”, says Tammy. “SAPS provided the caravan as our base, Law Enforcement were constantly available (in particular Shane and Antoinette), Deep Blue Security stationed a guard at the hut, the NSRI were on constant standby, VenSec offered back-up and of course WatchCon were indispensable”.
The dangerous riptide along the rocks below Chapman Peak Drive meant that many bathers had to be warned rapidly not to enter the water there. Negotiations to obtain daily lifeguards to watch over that side of the beach are currently underway with the council.
A 2011/2012 Festive Season 'thank you' from Julie Banham, HBNW Chairperson.
Once again, Hout Bay appears to have had a bumper holiday season. The beaches and harbour were exceptionally busy at times and some of our roads experienced considerable traffic jams on certain days at the height of the festive season.
HBNW was privileged to be a part of the many plans in place to keep holidaymakers and overseas visitors as safe as possible throughout the entire holiday period. I would like to say a big "thank you" to each and every NW member who participated in patrols - not only on the beaches and around the CBD and harbour areas, but on "eyes and ears" duty in their respective suburbs. The same goes for those members who responded, at all hours of the day and night, to specific incidents. At a time of year when activities with family and friends often take precedence, it is highly commendable that so many members were still willing to do their bit.
Neighbourhood watch was just a small part of the huge team effort by various organisations to ensure locals and visitors alike enjoyed all the good things that Hout Bay had to offer, whilst trying to keep criminal activity to a minimum. Utopia it is not, but we did aim to ensure that with the back-up and support of SAPS, Law Enforcement, Metro, the various security service providers, EMS, NSRI, Hout Bay Fire & Rescue, and other emergency organisations, we made a difference. Central to the efforts of all role players was, of course, our Watchcon 24/7 radio control room, manned by Kevin, Lutchiano, Steven and Theo. What would we have done without them?
Hout Bay had its fair share of housebreakings, armed robberies, incidents of trespassing and theft out of vehicles. Neighbourhood watch and the other authorities make every effort to constantly patrol all areas but the safety of our homes, our families and our vehicles is always, in the first instance, the responsibility of us all as individuals.
The Beach Safety Project, which ran for three weeks from 15th December was, once again, a success and there were no reported criminal incidents on the beach during that period. Two near-drownings did occur. Also, three early morning/evening muggings in the dunes were reported but not during our watch. The NW patrollers occasionally offered some friendly hints to beachgoers regarding safety in the water, dogs on the wrong section of the beach or leaving personal property unattended, and were usually thanked for their advice and their concern. However, our volunteers were occasionally on the receiving end of some rather curt replies. Oh well....
To the people of Hout Bay, your support of neighbourhood watch is paramount to helping us move a little closer to Utopia and a better life for all our communities. To those who already do - thank you. To everyone else - please come and join us.
Julie Banham, HBNW Chairperson
Membership is for Hout Bay residents only
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