What we do, how we do it, and why
Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative (MCSI) promotes community safety and security in Muizenberg Village and the Mountainside. We use a multi-disciplinary approach to build safety in the area including:
- Neighbourhood watch activities
- Connecting the community to each other
- Public space cleanups
- Regular communication on security matters
- Working with local partners like MID and SAPS
Neighbourhood Watches in South Africa are constituted under the South African Police Service (SAPS) Act, and are intended to function as the ‘eyes and ears’ of SAPS in the communities they serve.
MCSI is about building a neighbourly neighborhood
Neither vigilantism nor scaremongering help people to feel safe and secure in their home neighbourhood, nor do they add in any significant way to people’s real safety. In fact, some responses like retreating behind high walls have actually been shown to increase vulnerability to crime.
MCSI has opted to achieve greater safety, security and crime prevention through the creation of neighbourly neighbourhoods. We’re working at creating areas where people know their neighbours and know how to contact them in emergency. Good neighbours greet each other in the street and get to know who belongs and who does not. We watch. We take an interest and pay attention to what’s happening around us. We communicate with each other. If anything untoward happens, we call for professional help – MID Public Safety, SAPS, an ambulance, fire services, or City of Cape Town departments as appropriate.
A safe neighbourhood begins with you
Start by keeping yourself and your family safe by simply paying attention to your surroundings. Nature has never offered humans the right to ‘sleep-walk’. There have always been snakes, scorpions or predators that might ‘get’ us if we weren’t keeping a look-out. In our modern cities, these dangers have ‘morphed’ into people. Leave a door or window open and unattended, and someone will steal something. Wear flashy jewellery and someone is very likely to take it off you. Dream along in the street chatting on your cell phone, and you are likely to be relieved of the cell-phone and probably anything else of value you are carrying.
By being on the lookout for potential threats you will be in a better position to avoid trouble rather than having to deal with it. You will be able to share information via the WhatsApp and Facebook groups to help other community members.
Many ways to contribute
Be involved in just one MCSI initiative: you will establish connections to keep you safe, meet people you can turn to in a crisis, and you’ll make a difference to the whole neighbourhood!
While some of us do drive around ‘on patrol’, MCSI is about much more than “Patrolling the empty streets at night!” Those of us who enjoy walking do foot patrols in the streets. There’s even a Mom’s running patrol group – after the kids have been put to bed!
Those who are pushed for time join the sporadic public space cleanups scheduled on certain weekends. Others make a point of chatting to their neighbours to recruit more members, start a WhatsApp street group, or help with fund-raising events.
A benevolent presence on the streets prevents crime, partly by simply denying undesirables the space to operate unhindered. Interacting in a friendly or at least neutral way with everyone (known criminals included) keeps levels of aggression down. One makes a neighbourhood safe by knowing one’s neighbours, by spending time chatting in the street, by keeping an eye out for each other, by creating relationships.
Take a look at the different initiatives on the go and let us know how you’d like to be involved!