More cameras next year, says Hout Bay watch

The first phase of the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch’s camera project was completed in July with the installation of two cameras in Main Road near the Domestic Animal Rescue Group. Picture: Andrew Martin

The Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch says it plans to install two more dual security cameras by the end of February next year at a cost of about R100 000.

The first phase of the watch’s camera project was completed in July, at a cost of R30 000, with the installation of two cameras in Main Road near the Domestic Animal Rescue Group (Darg), according to watch chairman Andrew Martin.

“Previously only the traffic circle itself had camera surveillance from a camera, which was mounted on Hout Bay police station’s roof. However, the crime on Main Road has been increasing for some time now, to the point where the Community Crime Prevention (CCP) had previously declared this as a no-go area for walking, cycling or dropping off staff. And this sparked the need to install more cameras in the area,“ Mr Martin said.

However, Hout Bay police chief Captain Jerome Syster said crime along Main Road had not seen a massive spike recently, but he agreed that more cameras in the area would be of great help to them and the community.

“I wouldn’t say the Main Road is a no-go area, but wherever they can put up more cameras would surely be a help for us,” he said.

The technical specifications and quotes for two more phases of camera installations – to be funded from the watch’s cash reserves – had been finalised, and they would be presented to the executive committee for approval within the next ten days, Mr Martin said.

“The cost of each of these phases is around R50 000 because they have to cover large sections of ground and distances, be secure from vandalism, and also be resistant to load-shedding.

“We are hoping to have these cameras installed by February depending on stock arrivals as they are special imports, and the live data from these cameras will be fed to the Watchcon operations room,“ Mr Martin said.

The next two phases of the camera rollout, one dual camera for each phase, would cover the lower and higher ends of Main Road.

“Essentially this project will cover from the graveyard up to the Imizamo Yethu traffic circle, which is the current hotspot for crime,” Mr Martin said.

Community police forum chairman Anthony Chemaly there had been several crimes in the vicinity of Main Road from the cemetery to the traffic circle near the police station.

“There have been robberies and cars damaged in many instances. There is also much anger when this happens from the residents because it’s right outside the police station, but the reality is that we are so understaffed that the station struggles to field enough vehicles for complaints, and there is no way a vehicle can stand outside all day in the road.

“There has been much assistance from the local security companies to show presence there, but the reality is that opportunistic criminals have an easy task to sit and watch from the side of the road and wait for an easy victim to show up. We fully support the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch camera project to allow further tools for prevention of crime,“ Mr Chemaly said.

The watch had not approached the City about the project as the cameras would be positioned on private property, Mr Martin said. “However, the City will be approached for assistance to cut and remove the bushes opposite Darg and Love in a Bowl as criminals have been using these for cover to ambush victims, and it is essential that these are cleared as part of this project.”

He said the watch was dependent on private donations to maintain and improve security infrastructure in the area. For more information, contact Andrew Martin at 083 270 5570 or email admin@hbnw.co.za.