Following growing concerns about increasing crime in the country, a call has been made for community-based security mechanisms to be strengthened to clamp down on criminal elements.
The Chairman of the Greater Accra Community Neighbourhood Watch Committee, Mr Jonathan Kotoku, who made the call, said it was important for the government to make deliberate investments in crime prevention at the grassroots.
“The Police are mandated to provide security for all citizens, but looking at their numbers, they cannot adequately provide that service in all parts of the country.
“It is therefore important that the government incorporates people offering voluntary services into security operations at the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) as a means of augmenting the effort of the police in checking crime,” he said.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra, he stressed that community safety was a shared responsibility for which reason all stakeholders must work together to weed out criminal elements.
“We need to have a system where we have everyone on alert and cautious about what happens in their neighbourhood so that criminals will be identified before they act.
“Communities around Zongo areas, beaches, as well as market centres are crime-prone places, so adequate security measures need to be put in place to check crimes that go on in these places,” he said.
Touching on the use of motorcycles, he said proper procedures should be established to ensure that those who use motorcycles to rob members of the public were arrested.
“The use of motorcycle is not entirely bad, given the fact that it is an easy means of transportation. The challenge though is how to monitor the activities of the youth who use motorcycles to launch robbery attacks,” he said.
Mr Kotoku appealed to the government to provide vehicles, communication equipment and other logistics to facilitate the work of the neighbourhood watch committee members in their fight against crime.
He further asked that members of the watch committees be paid allowances as a source of motivation for the work they did by saving lives and properties.
Neighbourhood Watch Committees operate under the Community Policing Department of the Ghana Police Service.
Members of the committees are given minimum training to enable them to assist the police in providing security at the community level and report criminal activities to the police as well as help them to track down criminal elements.
The work of members of the watch committees is voluntary.