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The 50 security cameras installed in Central have reaped positive results, allowing security officials to track and trace all suspicious vehicles and people.

“The 24/7 security officers in the two vehicles patrolling the streets of Central and the operators in the control room watching the activities on the cameras know exactly what they are looking for,” Stephen Moore of Citywide Security said.

The firm advises the board of the Central Special Ratings Area (SRA) on security improvements in Central.

“The cameras are able to track each and every vehicle or person, and if there is any suspicious behaviour, the security vehicles are immediately dispatched to investigate, one with an on-board camera to capture any process going down,” Moore said.

“We also have an excellent relationship with the metro police and SAPS Humewood, which provides us with crime stats on a weekly basis so that we can plan where to focus.”

Ratepayers in Central had made the security upgrades possible by agreeing to pay an extra amount on their rates and taxes.

In August last year, when the Central SRA first started investing in security, they were experiencing high crime levels, with residents regularly reporting theft out of motor vehicles and homes, muggings and vagrancy.

A year later, most complaints from residents are centred on loud music or people parking their cars incorrectly or dumping rubbish on the streets.

“We’ve really been able to get moving with our security and cleanliness drive ever since the municipality signed the special rates agreement with us on February 15,” said businessman and SRA chair Dave Edwards.

“The additional rates are collected by the municipality, then paid over to the Central SRA.

“We have a five-year improvement plan and we work closely with the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), the municipality, metro police, SAPS, property owners, businesses and Nelson Mandela University, as many of its students live in Central and its Bird Street campus is situated here.”

The Central SRA is steered by a board of volunteer directors appointed by the property owners.

They have one full-time staff member, Hayley Stirk, who manages the day-to-day operations from their office in Central.

“There has been an absolute turnaround and I experience it first-hand.

“When issues are picked up or reported, they get actioned straight away,” Stirk said.

In the past month, four arrests had been made with the alleged perpetrators identified through their clothing.

Central has 50 security cameras in total, including automatic number recognition cameras at all the entrance points to the neighbourhood.

All the cameras are linked to the control room.

The cameras are mounted high up and they have tamper alerts linked to the patrol cars.

Stirk said they had also created two WhatsApp groups for Central residents.

This article appeared in The Herald (South Africa) on 30 September 2021