Phoenix crime watch chat group grows

Phoenix crime community activist, Clive Shaik.

A Phoenix crime watch WhatsApp messenger group – Phoenix Crime Community Assist – formed by two community activists, Donavan Chetty and Clive Shaik, has grown in leaps and bounds with seven different groups under their wing, consisting of 200 members each and eight admins.

Formulated in 2015, the intention behind the crime reporting group chat was to give members of the community a platform to report crime as it happens, summon SAPS, security companies and emergency personnel immediately in case of an emergency.

“When we started off, we were even uncertain what to do or who to contact in case of an emergency. At that time, we often relied on dialling 10111 until we added more key crime fighting and community role-players including 12 security companies. From there the chat took off well and has since been joined by the Phoenix SAPS station commander Brigadier Ndlovu and CPF’s Umesh Singh,” he said.

The group comprises of SAPS, Community Policing Forums, various security companies, various municipal department officials, Metro Police, community role-players and members of the community.

According to Shaik, the chat assists in a variety of issues affecting the community ranging from reporting suspicious people or vehicles for immediate reaction from police, water meter and electricity problems, domestic disputes, crime, accidents and other critical social issues.

“The chat group has been instrumental in eradicating crime. Our members who are volunteers willingly work around the clock in their efforts to keep the community safe,” he said.

Adding to this, Chetty said the chat group has also played a major role in helping SAPS and security companies locate perpetrators of crime, recover stolen and hijacked vehicles and get relevant officials to attend promptly to any community related complaints.

“In one particular incident, we received a message on the crime watch group about a hijacked vehicle in Westham. The message circulated instantly and security companies as well as residents kept observation. Fortunately, within a few hours the vehicle was recovered. It’s amazing to see members of the community springing to action to assist us. Be it an accident, a robbery, house break-in or a robot that is out of order resulting in traffic build-up. Our members are always on standby to assist,” said Shaik.

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While the group is gaining momentum, Shaik said the success of the group was made possible by selfless volunteers who work closely with SAPS and other sister crime watch groups. “We may be based in Phoenix but we communicate with other groups in other suburbs, as a means to help each other,” added Shaik.

Furthermore as a result of their popularity and rendering an amazing community service over the years, the group has been receiving a lot of sponsors from the community including clothing and food – they are in turn giving back to needy charities and disadvantage communities.

Furthermore, they have also secured a generous sponsor of R1, 000 monthly from a local pharmacy which will be going towards purchasing food items for the needy and stationery for indigent school goers.

“Our first outreach programme took place in a home for abused women and children in Phoenix and we are actually looking into doing monthly feeding schemes in various needy communities,” said Shaik.

“Eventually we want the crime watch group to be able to operate as a panic button to assist residents in distress and of course continue to keep the community updated with what is going on around them,” he said.

Residents who wish to join the crime watch WhatsApp groups must send their contact details to Clive Shaik on 062-724-0918.

Phoenix Sun

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