Calls for CCTV in Claremont

JOHN HARVEY

A prominent Claremont neighbourhood watch is calling for the urgent installation of CCTV cameras in the area’s central business district.

Derek Bluck, chairman of the HarLyn Neighbourhood Watch, is concerned that while suburbs such as Rondebosch and Wynberg are able to boast a number of cameras, there is “not one” in the Harfield Village and Doncaster Roads precincts.

“Our area’s CBD is growing, but this also brings an escalation in crime. In the past few months we have seen quite a few business robberies, some where people run into the shop and steal items, but also some armed robberies,” Mr Bluck said.

“What we have noticed is there are groups coming into our area in vehicles from other areas.

“What we have noticed is a particular modus operandi. These vehicles circle the area, dropping off people who then strike at the businesses. Once they have robbed the premises, they are picked up by the getaway vehicle.”

While the same modus operandi is seen in Rondebosch, the suburb has installed a state-of-the-art camera system to pick up suspicious vehicles that enter and exit the area. Not only does this allow the authorities to identify vehicle registration numbers, but it also enables them to zoom in on bumper stickers and other markings which could assist police to identify the vehicle at a later stage.

Car-jamming, he said, had become particularly problematic, especially in the Belvedere Road area.

Mr Bluck said while members of his neighbourhood watch patrolled the area “eight or nine times a week”, it was not possible for them to see every suspicious vehicle that entered their patrol sectors.

“This week I undertook a tour of Constantia with the local neighbourhood watch.

“They must have one of the best neighbourhood monitoring systems in the country, with at least 40 cameras posted around the area.

“We are calling on residents to mobilise in order to get at least one camera installed in the Claremont Sector 1 and Sector 4 patrol areas. As such, we will be having a public meeting at the St Ignatius Church in Imam Haron Road to discuss this on (Thursday) March 10. The meeting will also be attended by representatives of Verifier, a company that installs CCTV and surveillance equipment.”

He said it was hoped concerned residents would attend the meeting as it was important that the community learn how effective technology could be in thwarting crimes of this nature.

Police spokesperson Captain Angie Latchman said although Claremont police had actually recorded a decrease and stablisation in most categories of crime in the Sector 1 and 4 policing areas, it was important that crimes were reported to the police to take action.

“The station commander of SAPS Claremont, Colonel Elloneoum Joseph is urging business owners to report such crimes when they occur. One must always remember that criminals prey on opportunity.”

For more information, contact Mr Bluck on 076 078 1827 or email bluck.derek@gmail.com