CCP team keeping Hout Bay safe

CCP director, Keri Cross, and Watchcon controller Reuben Maarman during a morning routine checking the camera feeds.

Hout Bay’s Community Crime Prevention (CCP) team have made the valley a safer place with patrols in public open spaces, assisting in arrests and increasing security awareness since their launch in 2015.

Director of the donation-based organisation, Keri Cross, together with JJ De Villiers who runs operations, saw the need for responders in the neighbourhood and teamed up to form CCP.

CCP responds to an average of 100 calls and patrols 400 hours a month.

“Currently we have two guys on the road and ideally we need an extra two. We work really well with the security companies and specialise in contact crime – so muggings, house break-ins and robbery.” she said.

Ms Cross, who is a mother to a 21-month-old baby girl, previously worked for Seef magazine, but following a traumatic event at her neighbour’s place, she decided to improve security in her community.

“I moved into Penzance from a complex and after living there for just about a month, my neighbour’s house got broken into where five guys stabbed him, they took his gun from him and pulled the trigger but the bullet got lodged in the chamber. After that, myself and a friend went door to door asking people to contribute towards having security and I just got more and more involved. 

We saw that having guards on the street decreased crime by 68% and later installed cameras, lights and a security fence using funds raised in the community. Penzance became an area with zero crime but it was a process which took just over a year as the crime rapidly decreased soon other areas started asking us to help.

At the same time JJ, who was a fisherman, would spend nights responding to crime in the area and people would contact him through Facebook whenever there was an incident in Hout Bay,” she said.

Ms Cross said people were not sure on how to ask for help and would use social media as a platform to do so – they would help with domestic issues to fires, crime or if there was a snake in the garden.

CCP also manages Watchcon which is a Hout Bay neighbourhood watch asset. Watchcon receives camera feeds from various locations in Hout Bay and coordinates communications and responses.

It is a neutral space where all security companies work together to deal with crime, road closures, muggings to burst water pipes.

“Watchcon has been around for the last 10 years it was previously run by ADT but now
CCP manages it with ADT contributors in responding. Watchcon is a 24-hour control room and we work with all first responders which are Metro, SAPS, fire and rescue, ADT, SANParks and all security companies in the area. This is where we closely monitor cameras to dispatch help and coordinate responses. When we took over Watchcon last year we only had 23 working which each worked for about an hour of the day. We’ve worked extensively with all the areas and have now just over 820 feeds coming in with a 98% up-time,” she said.

Despite being a donation-based organisation they are looking to grow their team of controllers who monitor the feeds and call-outs at Watchcon, and continue to reduce crime in the area.