Effective security efforts depend on a layered approach. It requires a network of cameras, boots on the ground, support from security stakeholders and the cooperation from ordinary citizens. The residents of the Constantia Valley in Cape Town have just had another security layer added to their suburbs.
“Security cameras have changed the game when it comes to neighbourhood safety and security projects. They play both a proactive and a reactive role and allow security partners and companies to better and more efficiently deploy resources to either prevent a crime from happening, or to respond when a suspect is being pursued,” explains Jade Hanning, Western Cape general manager for Fidelity ADT.
Many areas within the Constantia Valley and the surrounding areas have already been comprehensively covered with licence plate recognition (LPR) cameras, he adds. “We are adding another element to the human detection, LPR and CCTV cameras to even better protect local residents and businesses.”
Hanning explains that the company has at its own cost installed 14, (with more planned) smart analytical street cameras in the area, which will be connected to the company’s main monitoring centre in Goodwood as well as alerts to the Constantia Valley Information Centre (CVIC).
“We looked at the hotspots that have been identified in the area and this is where these new cameras were installed. This is another type of camera that will help monitoring centre staff members better analyse events and activity in their areas. They could, for example, pick up foot traffic in a street after lockdown curfew has started.”
The cameras have been welcomed by the chairperson of the Constantia Community Police Sub-Forum, Trevor Vroom. “They are a welcome element to add to our already extensive security network throughout the valley and we believe it will play a big part in better protecting people.”
The CVIC Monitoring Centre is the main coordination point for armed response, neighbourhood watch and law enforcement agencies that are spread across Constantia, Constantia Hills, Bergvliet, Kirstenhof, Kreupelbosch, Meadowridge, Plumstead, Southfield, Tokai and Wynberg.
Vroom says there remains a big role to be played by members of the community.
“One of the Centre’s key technological features is the series of cameras it monitors. Our monitoring centre team is in direct contact with all armed response officers and neighbourhood watch patrollers across the area as well as local SAPS and law enforcement. We now have more cameras to work with, but we still need the public to speak up and alert us when anything goes wrong. The sooner we can get the information, the sooner we can respond.”
Hanning agrees that the contribution made by ordinary residents is something that cannot be exaggerated or over-emphasised.
“Residents are our eyes and ears and we depend on them to report suspicious behaviour to the Centre (086 000 2669). It is important to also consider why behaviour is deemed to be possibly suspicious, someone walking down a public road during the day is not in itself something that should raise an alarm, but if this same person is obviously looking over walls or into parked cars along a street then there might be reason to be concerned.”
Hanning says reports of suspicious behaviour should include where the person was seen, a description of items of clothing or other distinguishable or unique features, as well as the direction in which the person was moving.
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