“Communities that stand and work together, will be safer”

Communities across South Africa should support their local law enforcement and other security role players. This partnership approach to crime fighting, says Fidelity ADT, has shown huge successes in the fight against crime.

“We work closely with several neighbourhood watches and community organisations across the country. When the public works hand-in-hand with their local security companies and the police, there is always a positive difference and generally a much safer community,” says Philip Uys, District Community Development Manager for Fidelity ADT.

The company has 119 partnerships with watches and community bodies in Gauteng.

The police and private security companies have limited resources and personnel. Despite their best intentions, they simply cannot be everywhere all the time and depend on communities ‘eyes and ears’ to help them deploy their limited resources in the most effective way possible, explains Uys. Modern technology, such as radio communication networks and strategically placed CCTV and licence plate recognition cameras have also made a huge difference to community safety efforts.

“Not everyone has the ability or the appetite to patrol their neighbourhoods at night. But you can make a huge difference by merely being observant of your surroundings, and speaking up when you see something that is out of place,” Uys says.

“Take note of any potential safety issues and raise it with your neighbours. This includes everything from broken fences, to open gates, to valuable items left unattended. The same goes for children or vulnerable members of your community – by simply caring for their safety, you can already make a difference.”

If there isn’t a community safety group active in your area, Uys suggests that one should be formed.

“For those looking to start a community security group, we encourage you to call on the private security industry to assist. They have first-hand knowledge of what works having assisted other groups in the past. Accredited community watches can also qualify for logistical support, such as in the Western Cape with watches accredited by the Departent of Community Safety. An integrated approach is also always more successful so perhaps find out if other groups are already active in neighbouring suburbs, and share ideas with them,” Uys advises.

In those communities that are lucky enough to have neighbourhood watches or similar organisations, it is important to support their activities and attend the meetings they arrange.

“By attending community meetings, reading emails and voting when called to do so, you can show support for those who have stepped up and are working towards a security solution for you and your loved ones,” says Uys.