Neighbourhood watch goes beyond fighting crime

Members of the neighbourhood watch.

A vision of a crime free community and unity among neighbours is surely becoming a reality with nearly zero crime being reported in the last five months in Lenham.

Lenham father, Loven Karim, who initiated the LECS Neighbourhood Watch together with Ashwin Govender, 10 years ago, said the ensemble has been very instrumental in fighting crime and as a result, they would like to see neighbourhood watches being formed in every street in Phoenix.

“Crime was escalating radically in the communities of LECS with hijackings on top of the list, followed by copper pipe theft, house break-ins and other petty crimes,” he said.

Instead of folding arms and leaving everything to the police, Karim and Govender decided to stand up and play their part not only to protect their families, but the entire community as well. Despite a poor turnout at their first community meeting, Karim said they never lost hope.

Having begun with just two people, the neighbourhood watch has since grown to over 60 members, who sacrifice their time to patrol the streets during the day and night, putting their own lives at risk.

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“Our members consist mainly of working men and women, who come back from work and still stay up the whole night, making sure that their streets are free from criminals and of course that the vulnerable elders and children are safe in their homes,” he said. The good thing about LECS according to Karim is that they are not only about fighting crime, but they also intervene in social ills and issues affecting youngsters.

“We have turned our neighbourhood watch into a family ensemble, we understand that our youngsters went astray, but we urge our communities not to chase them away but show them respect. By chasing them away, you are asking them to continue with what they are doing,” he said. Proving that they are not just a mere neighbourhood watch, LECS members also take turns to transport the elderly to the clinic from as early as 3am.

“Our greatest concern was that our elders were walking in the dark to get to the local clinic as early as possible, therefore putting them at risk of being attacked or robbed,” added Karim. Apart from that they also extend a helping hand when a family member is ill and during unforeseen events like death, working jointly with local doctors and a funeral service. “Our goal is to see our communities living in harmony and enjoy their lives in a crime free society,” he said.

Karim urged residents to join their neighbourhood watches saying that it really helps and the work really pays off at the end of the day.

Article: Mbali Khubisa        

 

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Mbali Khubisa

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