Neighbourhood Watch or CCTV

Is CCTV a better solution than Neighbourhood Watch?

CCTV or Neighbourhood watchThere is little doubt that in recent weeks crime has escalated throughout St Francis. Concerned residents have started a Whatsapp group that went viral in the first day it was launched and talk seems now to centre on crime rather than the weather. It would seem in spite of their very best efforts SAPS are doing their very best but we must that they are understaffed and have too few vehicles to patrol the huge area under their jurisdiction. Our security companies Calibre and SMHart are working tirelessly in responding to crime activity but it must be accepted that their task is really to service their clients, not the community. That they do help the community at large must not go unnoticed they should be thanked for their efforts in supplementing the police efforts which truly is beyond their call of duty considering they are at times, risking their lives for going that extra mile.

There has been some talk of forming Neighbourhood Watch groups to combat this increased crime in the greater St Francis. The roots of neighbourhood crime prevention, including Neighbourhood Watch, can be traced back to a Chicago School and its focus on the relationship between the social environment of neighbourhood and crime in the late 1960s.

The concept ticks all the right boxes and there are many very effective watch groups operating in South Africa. But there are many failed initiatives for unless the community is fully behind the concept they are sadly doomed to failure. Having been a member of a group in the eighties was initially great fun and being teamed up with the then mayor of the town gave us certain privileges including a ‘blue light’. Unfortunately as the weeks of getting up at midnight, or staying up to “patrol the empty streets” (some oldies will recall that line from the days before television in the popular radio series ‘Squad Cars’) soon took toll on many of the members. Work, travel and family commitments saw the group dwindle until there was only a handful left to do patrols. Inevitably through lack of personnel, interest, support and motivation the group disbanded.

But personnel and motivation aside! Consider the cost of those patrolling not only their valuable time and time away from their family but also the cost of petrol and vehicle costs incurred whilst they drive the area night after night. And being working people normally, there are no patrols during the day when crime does occur.

Some months ago John Hammond set up a meeting at St Francis Links for a demonstration of CCTV equipment. No doubt some left the meeting muttering over the cost but in reality it is probably the least expensive way of securing an area, particularly  high risk areas that are regularly targeted by criminals.

Another meeting is being arranged at St Francis Links on the 30th August at 17:00 (5:00pm) where a group called Elf will be presenting a possible solution to the costs.

Below is a press release from John about what the meeting.

Greetings,

As part of the investigation into a St Francis CCTV solution we have, with the assistance of Wayne Furphy, chairman St Francis Property Owners, made contact with a company called Elf Rentals based in Port Elizabeth. This group are major systems integrator to the security industry, in short they design, supply and maintain any technology required for the management of security around any form of estate, village or town.

Elf are not in competition with any local armed response service providers and in most cases local service providers such as Smhart & Calibre will welcome the community injection of technology to enable them to perform their duties better.

The majority of Elf’s work is on a rental basis where they fund the capital off their own balance sheet, install the hardware and insure and maintain it, where the community enter into a rental agreement with the HOA/entity to recoup the capital and fund the servicing costs.

This model works really well with estates or towns on a fixed levy structure where raising capital via a special levy is a challenge. The client has a fixed monthly expense and a guarantee that the equipment works.

Elf currently looks after 60 odd estates in the Fourways, Lone Hill & Midrand areas as well as several golfing Estates, most of the high end estates in PE which is HQ of the group.

We have invited Elf to present an overview of their offer to the community as another step in the gathering of information on a St Francis CCTV solution.

We invite members of the community / representative of groups/ estates or communities to attend.

Please feel free to give your local Community Police Sectors a call to discuss any element of how we can make St Francis a safer and better place to live.

Regards

John Hammond

Meeting Date: 30th August
Day & Time: Tuesday 17h00
Venue: St Francis Links – TBC

RSVP Essential for Catering  –  Via email: cpf.stfrancis@gmail.com

Food Stamps

Food Stamps instead of cash?

Food StampsFollowing yesterday’ post on car guards and casual labour, a couple of interesting comments. Peet Kemp, chairman of St Francis Tourism suggested a very possible solution that could be used, not only for car guards, but as a general method of giving ‘money’ as a gratuity to those deserving of such or to the needy, if you ever feel so inclined. By giving cash it is certain that many of those asking for handouts will spend the money on alcohol and or drugs so Peet’s suggestion could be a worth pursuing further.

The suggestion is that coupons be printed and sold at Spar, and other outlets for that matter. These coupons in denominations f say R2 & R5 that can be given instead of money and would be redeemable for food only.  Let’s call ‘food stamps’ for lack of a better description.

Obviously there are costs involved in printing the coupons so to be sure that nobody loses money on supplying them, they could sell the food stamps in booklet form for say R45 for a book of 20 x R2 coupons and R110 for a book of 20 x R5 coupons.  Spar could sell the booklets and so would receive money upfront for future sales and with a bar-code printed on the ‘food stamp’ tracking sales on the till transaction should not present a problem for most retailers are equipped for processing coupons on specials.

By offering ‘food stamps’ it could greatly reduce the incidences of beggars hanging around when they realise they aren’t going to get money for booze.  On the downside some would no doubt sell coupons at reduced rates but Peet’s suggestion certainly has value so maybe others can expand on the concept and maybe even run with it.

A bit of lateral thinking and there is also an opportunity for a little advertising to cover the cost.

Car Guards and Casual Workers

Do we need Car Guards?

At a recent meeting was held to discuss the increase in the number of job seekers congregating on corner of St Francis Drive and Assisi Drive in the vicinity of the St Francis Bay tennis courts and the need for car guards. Regarding car guards, are they really necessary? Most of us know how to drive and need no assistance in negotiating our way in or out of a parking spot and as for protecting our vehicles, are car guards a hindrance or an opportunity for organised pilfering?

But the ever growing groups of job seekers congregating and looking for work are a concern.  Certainly there is a high rate of unemployment and one must feel for those trying to put food on the table. But is picking up an unknown job seeker safe? You have no way of knowing who or what sort of person you are employing and even it is for only a couple hours to assist with a menial task, are you not compromising your safety or security?

A proposal put forward was that all casual job seekers should be registered and background checks be done on them so as to exclude those with criminal records. A good idea! In addition to this the suggestion was made that an area in Sea Vista be determined where all job seekers would congregate in future and those looking to employ casual labour would then fetch workers from there.  Another good idea and it could work .…  but!

Legally there is no way those who gather on St Francis Drive can be stopped from continuing to gather. And to further the problem, those looking for casual workers will continue to use the area as a pick up zone. So unless everyone commits to the idea of travelling to Sea Vista to fetch casual labour the concept is doomed. But maybe the idea needs to be developed further. Possibly all casual job seekers can be encouraged to register and then be issued with an identity badge with photo. Then the community needs to be encouraged to only employ those who carry these ID ‘s and maybe name and shame those who insist on using unregistered casual workers. Once these job seekers know it is the only way they will get casual work they will be queuing to register. Knowing they will only get work if they assemble in the designated area in Sea Vista would largely reduce loitering along St Francis Drive.

And back to the matter of Car Guards, these registered casual workers could form  a squad of ‘car guards’ for special events where car guards may be required from time to time.

But it can only work if everyone buys into the scheme, workers and employers and hopefully the Community Policing Forum will pursue this initiative. Just another way of “Saving St Francis” and making it a better place to live or visit.

More tomorrow on Neighbour Watch and why CCTV security must be seriously considered.

Something Good Surf Classic

The second Something Good Surf Classic takes place this Saturday, 27th August at Pipe Port Elizabeth.

Something good surf classicTHIS IS A FUN EVENT FOR EXPERIENCED SURFERS AS WELL AS NOVICES AND TOTAL BEGINNERS. (From Groms to Masters)

 Great prizes as well as a t-shirt for every entrant.

You do not need to be an affiliated member of NMBS to take part.

Hurry and enter as only the first 100 entries will be accepted.

Entry Fee:      R200.00

Entries online www.nelsonmandelabaysuriders or @ Surfcentre or The Boardroom.

  • Kicks off at 07h00 @ THE PIPE.
  • Longboard, shortboard, SUP or Bodyboard Welcome.
  • Prize Giving and function @ Something Good at 19h30
  • A poker run will take place during the surf event. Please bring a skateboard to the beach. No need to enter main event to enter poker run. Poker Run R20.00pp.
  • The Annual FAMILY SURF off will take place @ around 13h00.

Prizes for winners as well as lucky draw prizes up for grabs

More information:
Shirley Fairall – 
NMBS Secretary – Phone: 041 466 2224 –  Mobile : 082 929 9623
E-Mail : epscsec@vodamail.co.za

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen Inauguration

Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen has a sense of humour.

It was rather a privilege to receive an invite to attend the inauguration of Kouga’s new Executive Mayor on Friday. At a packed  Kruisfontein Civic Hall, an enthusiastic audience welcomed the announcement of Elza van Lingen as out new mayor as well as other DA Councillors, including newly elected Speaker Horatio Hendricks, with loud applause. After taking over the Speakers chair Hendricks had to ask the assembled DA supporters not to applaud as in fact a full council meeting was in progress.

But the crowd was not to be denied and the applause erupted as van Lingen was robed in the Mayoral Cloak. In a short speech accepting the nomination van Lingen showed a lovely sense of humour as she was first disturbed and then commenting on a power failure at a previous event when the loud speaker system conspired to spoil the flow of her speech.

Continuing she named her new Mayoral Committee for the next five years:

  • Desmond Petersen (Infrastructure, Planning and Development),
  • Danny Benson (Social Services),
  • Frances Baxter (Tourism and Creative Industries),
  • Bryan Dhludhlu (Local Economic Development),
  • Brenton Williams (Finance, Administration, Monitoring & Evaluation)
  • Nico Botha (Special Projects).

Watch short video of her acceptance speech.

VIDEO (2 mins)

With formalities over our new Mayor gave her inauguration speech where she assured,th assembled that “from today, we not only represent the Democratic Alliance but all the people of Kouga regardless of who you voted for.”

To listen to her speech you can watch the speech (9 minutes) by clicking on the link below.

VIDEO (9 minutes)

Apologies for videography but the audio is clear.

What was most notable of the day’s proceeding was that everything was on time. The meeting started promptly and took a little over an hour..