A new project announced for the southern suburbs of Cape Town this week has already had a dramatic impact on security in the area, says local armed response company Fidelity ADT (FADT).
Being awarded the contract to install cameras and create a control facility, the project has evolved into a working partnership largely between FADT and the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch (HNW).
Based on its level of valued support from the company’s client base throughout the area, FADT agreed to invest a significant amount into the expansion of a License Plate Recognition (LPR) Camera network and Community control hub free of charge to demonstrate its commitment to the community.
These resources cover the operational foot print of the HNW, parts of Claremont, Newlands and Kenilworth, where FADT have already installed additional cameras, free of charge. To date FADT has installed 5 additional cameras in the HNW operational area and committed to an additional two. The network’s cameras are monitored by a team at the Fidelity ADT Control and Monitoring Centre in Goodwood.
“Our involvement in the Southern Suburbs started way back in early 2000, but our partnership with the HNW was formally announced in 2015, when we agreed to dedicate two armed response vehicles to the area and support the Watch,” explains Martin ten Brink, Regional Community Development manager at Fidelity ADT.
“We have built a strong relationship with the extended area and the HarLyn Watch over the years, supporting them both financially and with resources and infrastructure and look forward to now taking it to the next level.”
Having effectively been in operation for some time now, the new dedicated Community Control hub will be officially launched on 1 March 2019, to coordinate and monitor security efforts in and around this area.
“The hub will monitor the new Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras deployed across the HarLyn Watch operational footprint, Claremont and Newlands, as well as the radio network used by local neighbourhood watch members. The strength of the hub lies in its ability to monitor and coordinate response to any security issue raised by residents or Neighbourhood Watch patrollers, through our dedicated telephone line” says Ten Brink.
Through FADT’s Community Security division, similar community hubs in other parts of the province, such as Durbanville, Rondebosch, Fish Hoek and the City Bowl have been established. In addition, FADT also deploys dedicated security resources in over 75 Localised security schemes.
The LPR cameras, he explains, have been strategically located across the HNW footprint. The position of these cameras is critical to their effectiveness and input from FADT, HNW and SAPS was vital in this decision making. The cameras pick up suspicious vehicles (such as vehicles that are linked to any acts of crime) and operators can immediately communicate with armed response officers and the SAPS to alert them.
“LPR cameras have already been proven their worth in the other areas where they have been deployed across the Cape, resulting in many arrests of wanted criminals,” he says.
The chair of the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch, Derek Bluck, has welcomed the deployment of the new LPR cameras and the establishment of the community hub.
“We are very excited at the launch of the long awaited Hub. This is the next step for us to become an even more effective organisation in combating crime in our area,” he says.
The Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch was formed in 2008 with seven Patrollers. FADT supplied the first seven radios and the watch was registered on the 22nd of July 2008. Two of the original Patrollers are still patrolling today.
The direct connection between the monitoring hub in Goodwood and the police means that SAPS resources can immediately be alerted to any suspicious activity. This, says SAPS Claremont Station Commander Colonel Maree Louw, is a welcome announcement.
“As the station commander, I welcome the announcement that cameras have been installed throughout the area, to help us combat crime. Many of the crimes are committed by using vehicles and these cameras will assist in identifying potential criminals and vehicles used in previous crimes.
“We as SAPS cannot fight crime alone, and we are thankful for all the help we get from the community especially the Harlyn Neighbourhood Watch and our other partners such as Fidelity ADT and other security companies in the area,” she says.
The use of modern technology helps the committed local role-players to keep residents safe, but there is still a big responsibility on residents to play their part, says Ten Brink.
“We all need to take responsibility for our own personal safety habits. Don’t leave doors standing open and don’t leave items in a parked car. Take care when you are out and about and make sure your home security system is tested often and regularly serviced.”
An effective security solution for any resident in any area consists of a number of ‘layers’, he says with each layer reducing risk and providing increased peace of mind. None of these aspects are mutually exclusive, but need to be seen as a holistic approach to personal safety:
– Adequate physical security – residents should assess their individual requirements as per the layout and daily living activities.
– Electronic alarm systems – there are a wide range of systems to choose from, from basic alarm systems to external perimeter protection, and now also systems that can be monitored and activated via a mobile phone app.
– Armed Response with a PSIRA registered and SAIDSA approved security service provider.
– Membership of a registered Neighbourhood Watch, and contribution to a community based security initiative.
The new LPR cameras have already been installed and activated, and we hope to expand to the network even further. “
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