Watch to boost camera network

Har-lyn Neighbourhood Watch chairman Derek Bluck.

The Har-Lyn Neighbourhood Watch plans to expand its security-camera network this year, and it also hopes to attract more patrollers.

On Wednesday last week, at Claremont Primary School, the watch re-elected its executive at its 10th annual general meeting.

Chairman Derek Bluck said patrolling had changed over time with a move to a more “modern” approach, incorporating technology and social media apps. The watch planned to install several cameras and licence-plate-recognition (LPR) systems to expand the current network, he said.

Vice-chairman James Cook said they were getting their own server to monitor the camera network in-house, which would streamline monitoring and save money in the long run.

Last month, the watch launched its sharps-bin project, which provides drop-off points for the disposal of old tools and knives and other sharp objects. There are drop-offs at Coffee Jess in Imam Haron Road (opposite the Clareinch post office) and Seeff Properties in Belvedere Square, and more are planned, according to Mr Bluck.

“Patrollers had been confiscating dangerous implements from individuals in our area, mostly late at night and the early hours of the morning, for quite some time now, and the pile was growing. And while these implements can be bought at any shop, the people questioned did admit that they often found them rummaging in bins in the neighbourhood. We realised that there was a need to set something up so that residents could dispose of them safely instead of just throwing them into their refuse bins,” he said.

The watch has seen its number of patrollers drop from 123 to 74, and Mr Bluck said the costs of petrol and living expenses had contributed to that.

While a handful of residents, businesses and body corporates donated regularly to the watch, he called on residents to not only join but also support them financially.

Meanwhile, there had been an influx of homeless people in the area, due to residents handing out food and money to them, he said.

“We know our residents have good hearts and want to help, but we urge residents to donate to responsible channels instead – who can assist the homeless holistically.”

He added that the watch was often called to incidents where the homeless had demanded food or money from residents, as they had grown used to receiving from them.

Some of these items were confiscated by patrollers; others were dropped off at the safe bins.