OBS Neighbourhood Watch Meeting

Report back on 29 September meeting re Rejuvenating Obs Watch

This email is going out to all those who attended the meeting last night, as well as to those who attended the meeting on Saturday 18th Sept and expressed an interest in getting involved:

Here is a summary of some of the points raised last night:

Regarding history, we have learnt:
– Community involvement should be fun, should involve younger people, should not be vigilante style, acknowledgement that community involvement does go up and down, Obs has a transitory population and so constant feedback /education is required within the community.
– The WhatsApp groups are a huge asset – and thanks to all those who ensure that this system operates efficiently and effectively.

Regarding governance:
– An interim committee has been set up through volunteers at this meeting, and this group will put the wheels in motion for AGM arrangements and gathering of information for full registration of the ONW with DOCS (Department of Community Safety)/SAPS.
– Having Observatory rejoin the Woodstock CPF is a goal
– The bank account has R16 000 in it
– The website sign up as a member function is operational and it is important for Obs residents to sign up as members as this list will form the data base for AGM organisation and communication
– when the new committee is formed the following positions should be filled:
– Chairperson
– Deputy Chairperson
– Secretary
– Treasurer
– WhatsApp Group Co-ordinator
– Communications – social media
– OBSID liaison officer – to ensure good working relations with OBSID
– CPF representative (down the line)
– Ideally someone who represents each of the four sectors
– Special projects people – to pick up some of the ideas expressed in the meeting and in other forums

Ideas to make things better:
– Very important that people get to know their neighbours – keeping a look out for each other in your own street – so any activities that assist with getting to know your neighbours is good – street braise for example
– Some WhatsApp groups need further training in how to operate better.
– Issues around those living on the street still needs to be more thoroughly and comprehensively discussed as a community – this is an important and urgent discussion.
– Is there an audit of those living on the street – and how can the community identify our Obs street dwellers as opposed to newcomers who may be opportunists?
– Recognition that drugs and alcohol play a role in crime in the neighbourhood – so further brainstorming about ways to combat the selling of drugs on the streets / controlling alcohol sales in Obs should be pursued
– Having an Obs sticker for Obs residents cars – this would clearly identify who was not an Obs resident and may make OBSID’s life easier.
– Encouraging a taking back of the streets with activities such as ‘Walk/Run for Obs’ groups, ‘Walking the Dog’ groups, full moon bicycle rides in Obs, etc..
– Expanding the Welcome to Obs Pack to include some TikTok type film clips about Obs and how the neighbourhood likes to roll…
– Encouraging more OBSID presence in certain parts of Obs where there is lots of foot traffic at certain times of the day ie going to work/going home traffic
– Getting the WhatsApp Admins more involved
– Making contact with student accommodation and landlords to educate students on the neighbourhood challenge
– We also need to deal with some developers that do not bother to look after their properties and tenants. Lytton Street has been experiencing lots of noise issues and trash not being taken care off properly. This is specially true when it comes to Ryan Joffe Property!
– Regarding crime reports. The data quality is great, but very few people are able to deduce quality insights from the vast amounts of tables and graphs. Can we use Facebook or wa groups to reach out to the community in order to get hold of people who enjoy statistics analysis and are willing to help make some sense of the data?
– OBSID using data to try and stop incidents before they happen – spotting trends in crime ie the most vulnerable times of the day
– Welcome pack is great – recommend all WhatsApp groups link the hyperlink in the WhatsApp group description. This is in the ​http://tinyurl.com/ObsWA-HowToReport. Frank is currently sending this out to all new people that come to live in Obs. Perhaps a review committee can revamp the information in this pack.
– Restarting the escort home at night initiative
– Big project – to work with CoCT and Dept of Transport to use one way road systems in Obs to reduce number of exits (and control out of control taxis using these roads as a rat run)
– Working on getting good intelligence to have drug dealers arrested – a few arrests will be helpful in making Obs a difficult place to do – business in …
Crime affects those living on the street as well – perhaps this group of residents can organise themselves in some way

Big Immediate Take Aways:
1. Please sign up on the ONW website: https://obswatch.org.za and encourage others to sign up. It is free.
2. Talk to your neighbours and look after your own street first.
3. Encourage community involvement and attendance at the AGM
4. Don’t wait for others to take the lead – organise things yourself – a few people to walk together with furry friends, a street braai etc..

See Something, Say Something, Take Control!

Best wishes