Spotlight on security - 24 Oct 2016
In the midst of the latest wave of criminal activity it is necessary to consider our area's security solution.
Did you know?
- Our area has 18 CCTV cameras, 3 licence plate capturing cameras and 1 Pan tilt and zoom (PTZ) camera that are placed at the vehicle entry points to the suburb and various entry points from the Spruit.
- All the cameras are connected with a fibre connection to the CSS control room
- All the cameras (except the PTZ) utilise iSentry software that triggers alerts in the control room when unusual activity is noted.
- We have one dedicated vehicle operating 24/7 responding to iSentry alerts, control room alerts and general surveillance. There is one HGC vehicle.
- A recent security survey has revealed that our decade old cameras are outdated and require upgrading with new technology cameras that are able to see better at night and provide better quality visuals.
- Additional cameras are recommended to monitor activity off the Spruit.
- The HGC have not increased its payments to CSS since 2008.
- Currently 100% of contributions received goes towards security and the difference between the contributions and the monthly cost is less than R400. If one contributor defaults we are in the red.
- Less than 50% of the residents in the area contribute towards the security solution
- It costs R50 000 to install one new camera and would require 4 new contributors to cover the monthly costs of a single camera.
- 92 new contributors would be needed to secure an extra patrol vehicle for a half shift (12 hours only).
- 24 new contributors are required to cover the monthly costs of the 6 new cameras that are recommended to improve coverage of access points from the Spruit.
- It will cost approximately R250 000 to upgrade the cameras that we already have.
Facts surrounding the recent wave of some criminal incidents in our area. There may be one or two anomalies, but these are the most prevalent characteristics of the latest spate of activity:
- The incidents have occurred in the vast majority of occasions between 2 and 4am.
- The perpetrator (there appears to be one or possibly two) is on foot and unarmed and will run when confronted.
- In the majority of cases he gains access into properties not from the driveway or front gate but from back gardens and neighbouring walls making it impossible to spot him from the road. His initial point of entry and exit appears to be from a building site or open site far from the camera points. Stolen goods have been discovered on the empty sites.
- He appears to test the security in place by for example throwing stones to activate beams and identify precisely where they are and test electric fences for ones that are not activated; alternatively he will lift electric fences and crawl beneath them. In one instance he used a residents own ladder to climb a wall.
- Goods stolen are small, easily carried and easily fenced- in general mobile phones, laptops and iPads.
What can you do?
- Check that your electric fence and alarms are working.
- Activate them!
- Monitor any suspicious activity and call it in. Do you see someone lurking around your house or taking pictures of your cameras and security? Call CSS and they will monitor his movements.
- Respond to your dogs barking and your alarm triggering. Put on your outside lights and call your security provider to conduct a sweep of your property.
- Make sure that you do not leave your bins outside at night. They make a handy ladder into your property.
- Don’t leave ladders outside in easy view.
- Secure outhouses, garages and cottages.
- Ensure no overhanging trees provide easy access to your property. Don’t only consider the front of your property- look all around it.
- If you house is targeted, and even if nothing is stolen please report it to SAPS and also to the HGC so that we can monitor the activity.
What have HGC and CSS been doing?
- Collated as much information as possible to identify the trends described above so as to actively counter the activity.
- Increased the number of patrols in the area with specific emphasis on building sites.
- Motivated for an additional strike team to work overtime to assist the single vehicle in the area.
- Conducted night raids of potential hots spots.
- Activated a raid by SAPS on building sites.
- Examined the camera footage for images of the perpetrator.
- Responded to various suspicious activity alerts and encouraged various persons out of the neighbourhood.
- Removed high growing vegetation and cut grass in areas along the Spruit to discourage homeless people.
- Repaired the fence along the Spruit that had been damaged by building work.
- Repaired electrical supply to cameras that had been interrupted by building work.
- Working with urban inspectorate and ward councillor for removal of displaced persons from open areas.
- Working with neighbouring Resident Associations to co-ordinate initiatives regarding the removal of displaced persons along Spruit.
- Engaged with private companies for the donation of additional fencing to secure high risk areas. See more about the proposal here.
- Cameras cannot pick up the perpetrator entering the suburb as he appears to access the area from points away from the cameras.
- Once in the area he can easily move from one house to another invisible to those on the street by moving though gardens, alternatively on the street in areas where there is no camera footage.
- He can easily wait out the patrol vehicle and move as soon as it has past.
- Nearly 50% of the incidents recorded have occurred in circumstances where electric fence, beams or alarms had not been activated making entry to homes or neighbouring properties easy.
There is no silver bullet to improve security. Security is made up of concentric layers of protection starting with each resident's own home and boundary working outwards towards the streets and open areas.
Security also requires co-operation. By example, when a person is able to access a property in Cawdor avenue from the back garden of a home on Balmoral avenue, no amount of security on Cawdor avenue would prevent that.
Cameras form part of the solution. Patrol vehicles form part of the solution. Personal security forms part of the solution.
You have the seen the cost of security. It is high. Some streets have expressed interest in increasing patrols on their street or adding cameras. This is do-able and payments made through the HCG are tax deductible which means that if you wish to make a further contribution, you can benefit from the tax rebate. Indicative costings are as follows:
- To add a dedicated vehicle to your street for a 12 hour shift will cost in the region of R60 000 per month
- To add a camera will cost approximately R50 000 for the capital cost of the camera and installation and a further R2 500 per camera per month for the monitoring of the camera
- To post a security guard at a point on your street would cost approximately R13 000 per month
- To secure a road closure of your street would cost a minimum of R150 000 legal fees and the process is expected to take approximately 24 months. Road closure can only occur if the traffic control surveys are conducive to closure and the City grants necessary permission
Security is a community effort. We encourage each resident to reconsider their security solution and if you are not yet contributing to the HGC perhaps now is the time to re-think that decision.