Notes from the Safety & Security meeting held in Greyton on 09 October 2017
Alan outlined the purpose of the gathering, which was not to discuss all the options available to our community to improve safety and security, but to present and discuss the findings of an investigation into the use of CCTV cameras, which appears to be by far the single most effective way to curb crime in residential and village areas such as Greyton if the equipment is correctly placed, monitored and responded to.
Greyton has had an approximate three year period of relatively low crime. This has shown signs of increasing in the past few months with a recent spate of burglaries – some involving knife attacks.
The presence of the new community in Madiba Park, of unemployed or underemployed people, is almost certainly going to have an impact.
Leon spoke of the success that LRV have experienced in other communities where they operate and where CCTV cameras have been successfully deployed.
When the community participates (active Neighbourhood Watch), and LRV and the SA Police Service (SAPS) work in close cooperation, crime related incidences can be reduced by 80 – 90%.
It is essential that CCTV camera networks are monitored 24×7, and that a response team is on hand to react.
LRV are committed to being involved in assisting in the project to rollout cctv cameras in Greyton.
LRV will provide premises for a control room if that is the way Greyton residents wish to proceed.
CCTV cameras can definitely play a huge role in combatting crime in our community.
Jeremy spoke of the huge problem that the TWK Municipality has experienced across the region with theft and vandalism. TWKM have already started an initiative to install CCTV cameras in the broader TWK region. A control room in Caledon will monitor the cameras across the region.
Phase 1 will entail about 30 cameras being deployed.
It will be valuable for TWK and for Greyton residents to co-operate regarding the types of equipment and network technologies selected so that systems can integrate and share information.
Greyton can be a test case for our community, and further rollout can be done in Genadendal and other residential areas.
The Onrus/Vermont Neighbourhood Watch (OnVerWag) together with the community have been involved with the preparation, planning and initial deployment of a CCTV camera network for the past three years.
They were experiencing 45 – 50 burglaries per month in addition to poaching and drug related activity.
Thirteen different companies have done site inspections and have made recommendations.
OnVerWag are in the process of installing 25 CCTV cameras, which are site and purpose specific with the appropriate level of technology
The system must be integrated with the SAPS, Traffic Department and Municipality systems in order to function effectively.
Their intention is to “enclose their entire area” with camera coverage. All entry and exit points to the area will be covered by CCTV cameras which are monitored 24hrs per day.
CCTV cameras are not the most expensive part of the exercise.
Monitoring and response teams are an on-going expense.
Funding can be achieved by the community applying to the municipality for a Special Rating Area. This is a levy which is applied to all ratepayers, and which is then collected by the local authority. The usage of these funds is monitored and managed by a non-profit organisation (NPO).
He attested to the fact that the SRA application however involves “quite a bit of red tape and many steps”.
W/O Van Wyk
Presented the License Plate Recognition (LPR) initiative that is being introduced to the Overberg and Overstrand areas. The initiative will link these areas to a comprehensive national network to target criminal activity linked to motor vehicle use.
It involves the extensive use of LPR Cameras which can immediately scan and recognise a license plate from a vehicle and automatically check if that vehicle/license plate has been flagged by law enforcement.
This system has been tested and has been found to be extremely effective in tracking criminals moving about, in the execution of, or escaping from a crime, or in transporting illegal goods or substances.
Greyton will benefit greatly from being able to integrate into this network.
Crime is on the increase in our area and burglaries are of particular concern.
SAPS are busy with investigations into burglaries on a daily basis in Greyton.
SAPS resources are stretched and administrative overheads place a heavy burden on their resources.
Communities urgently need to organise themselves to assist SAPS with crime prevention.
The circle of arrest/prosecution/jail/release of criminals keeps SAPS resources very stretched, and prevents more of a focus on the underlying causes of crime.
The Community Police Forum (CPF) in our area has been inactive since last year. A process is underway involving the Department of Community Safety (DOCS) to re-instate a CPF that is representative of only legitimate organisations in our area.
Once the CPF is in place, the Neighbourhood Watch can be re-instated and application can be made for funding for security related projects.
John presented various types of CCTV cameras and related network components.
There is a broad range of cameras available, from very simple low cost cameras with limited functionality, to very sophisticated cameras with long range and the ability to operate effectively at night.
The cost of these cameras and related equipment has come down appreciably over the past few years, and they are now widely deployed in many residential and business areas across the country.
John suggested a number of locations for the initial camera installation that would allow us to cover wide areas that are known routes used by criminals entering our community.
While local storage of video footage is best, residential, business and community cameras should all be routed to the monitoring center for live monitoring and response.
Cameras can be easily relocated if they are “discovered” by criminals, or if they are found to be unsuitable for use at that particular location.
Eddie presented video footage from CCTV cameras that are deployed in areas monitored by CamLiveVision.
The footage showed actual incursions by criminals and the response that is possible if security companies and SAPS are alerted once the perpetrator has been spotted. Video footage is also a valuable tool used by SAPS and the courts to secure prosecution of the criminal.