New Hout Bay safety proposal in pipeline

YOLANDE DU PREEZ

The Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch (HBNW) says it is working on an improved integrated security plan that it hopes will make Hout Bay safer for all.

The HBNW has been fighting crime in the community for more than 10 years with the help of volunteers and funding from HBNW members and businesses, but now there are moves to professionalise the structure and secure more sustainable funding.

HBNW chairman Andrew Martin said the watch wanted to keep rolling out cameras with “smart analytics” for early detection, upgrade Watchcon to a fully-fledged camera monitoring and joint operations centre and work with Community Crime Prevention (CCP), to expand the existing response team to include at least four vehicles and eight professionally trained responders.

The plan is to set up a new governance structure for HBNW in the form of a trust with a defined management structure and an updated HBNW constitution. There are also plans for a special rating area (SRA) also known as a community improvement district.

The HBNW also wants to draw up safety plans for each of the 27 areas in Hout Bay, catering to the needs of each. Each area’s leader would work closely with the HBNW operations team and be responsible for finding funding for the security plan identifying, securing and controlling weak access points in area.

Mr Martin said HBNW would look at getting professionals to take over roles currently dependent on volunteers, such as managing the Watchcon control room and responding to call-outs.

“We will utilise and strengthen new and existing partnerships with security service providers and community organisations such as Verifier, CCP and others to achieve our objectives as efficiently as possible. It will also need a steady income stream to effectively sustain the infrastructure and to stay ahead of ongoing innovation to enable the HBNW to stay one step ahead of criminal elements,” said Mr Martin.

To date, the HBNW has worked closely with other crime fighting organisations such as the Community Police Forum (CPF), CCP and the Hout Bay SAPS.

CCP operations manager JJ De Villiers confirmed it would be helping the HBNW to expand its response team. For more information about the HBNW or how to become a member go to www.houtbaywatch.com or call Doreen Malan at 021 790 1098.