Speaking at the launch of the Calder Neighbourhood Watch Association on Sunday 6th May, 2018, feature speaker Barrister- at- law Patricia Marks told the gathering that although she is not a resident of Calder, she spent many of her childhood days in the community with her Grandparents.
“ looking back my cousins and I knew all of the children, we were surrounded by a great community spirit and looked out for each other, in our spare time we explored all parts of Calder freely, we had no fear”.
Marks said the country has progressed greatly since her childhood, and the community like many others have seen positive and negatives and one such negative is that of crime.
She said in order to combat crime each member of the neighbourhood must play an active role in keeping it safe, this is where the need of a neighbourhood watch comes in, Marks stated.
“What I understand it to be, the purpose of the neighbourhood watch is to bring people together to make their community a safer place, it teaches its members how to protect themselves and property, and helps to reduce the fear of crime”.
Marks said the great number of residents who turned out to the opening is testimony, that the issue of safety and security are matters of concern for everyone in the community.
“An atmosphere of safety fosters cooperation and contributes towards a happier society; therefore a happy community where its residents live in harmony with one another can be considered a safe and secure environment”.
Marks, however, told members of the association that this can only be achieved if they participate, contribute and initiate programs so that its safety and security is maintained.
“That means we don’t just start, support and participation are key”.
Marks urged residents to go back to the old time days being their brother’s keeper.
“We have to be the extra eyes and ears to help the authorities combat crime in the community”.
Marks says from her interaction with the criminal justice system, it has shown her that criminals today are more sophisticated, utilizing WhatsApp and other electronic communication to plan their illegal activities.
She noted that burglar bars and dogs are no longer barriers to these criminals.
“ Weapons such as guns are used to carry out home invasions, and to carry out incidents of theft, with many of them being masked making it hard to be identified”.
Marks said some communities live in fear of these criminals and are afraid to speak out.
“But I can assure you today, with the establishment of your neighbourhood Watch you now have the law on your side, the police and the state are your partners”.
Marks said the implementation of crime prevention programs including neighbourhood watches strengthen the sense of security in communities.
The Calder Neighbourhood Watch would be establishing subcommittees for its community outreach mandate.
These include; The Educational and Cultural Committee, The Social Committee, Counselling, Arts and Sports Committee.
Marks urged residents to get involved in these events, as by working together they can identify the vulnerable areas of their community, tackling and confronting crime at the source.