Village Talk Front Page - 15 November 2017
Knight Security Solutions tackles crime head on!
SAPS released the National Crime Stats for South Africa on 24 October 2017. The stark reality is that crime is a serious problem EVERYWHERE in our country. Robbery at residential premises is at its highest in 10 years with 22,343 reported cases - an increase of 7.3% this year. Robbery with aggravating circumstances has increased by 6.4% – also the highest it has been in a decade
Howick is no stranger to crime waves, but the current crimes committed are more brazen than we have ever seen. According to Gary Preston, owner of Knight Security Solutions (KSS) and key role-player in our community for 29 years, this wave of crime has elicited many emotive responses from the community, with KSS being the target of much unfounded blame and accusation. The current gang that has hit Howick is an organised crime syndicate that is receiving high level attention from SAPS at Provincial level. Preston says that serious crime like this has to be escalated to the likes of Provincial and National SAPS, who work very closely alongside SA CAN.
KSS are proactive and have tracked the crime trends in Howick and its surrounds for some years now. If we look at the statistical facts, one will see the incredibly positive impact KSS has had in combatting crime in our area (Howick, Howick West, Merrivale and Hilton), particularly over the past year. Where crime nationally has seen a significant rise, crime in our local community (Howick, Howick West, Merrivale and Hilton) has actually seen a decrease for KSS clients. Preston attributes this success to the fact that KSS implemented the “2-up” Armed Reaction Officers in November 2016 and since then we have seen positive results. KSS are also quick to respond, follow-up timeously on crime related investigations and work shoulder to shoulder with the various local SAPS and SA CAN.
KSS Clients Statistics: 2016 compared to 2017 (up to 11 November 2017)
• Positive Break-ins are down by 64% overall for 2017.
• Attempted Break-ins are down by 63% overall for 2017.
• Arrests made are up by 21% overall for 2017.
• The total number for ALL crime related incidents (serious to petty) is down by 62% for 2017.
Another key factor in combatting crime effectively is community involvement, and for the first time the Howick community has woken up to the fact that they can contribute and support the efforts of security companies such as KSS and the local SAPS. WhatsApp groups are vocal but have to be controlled and information needs to be reliable, relevant and concise. In fact, accordingly to Brian Jones, CEO of SA CAN, the future of tracking and verifying crime related communication is in the “TrackBox” App, patented by Jones himself. It must also be noted that WhatsApp is NOT a medium through which security companies dispatch a response. Security company structures are far more complex and the dispatch of an Armed Reaction unit is primarily through alarm and panic activation signals, as well as direct phone calls to the Control Room.
KSS Management also recently met with the Visionary Team of the newly established Howick Safety Network (HSN), an independent team of experts in their fields, to address the current crime issues. A further meeting is being held tonight by various additional community role-players and cell leaders, to strategically plan, alongside KSS and SAPS, so that all key community role-players are on the same page. Our intention is to also form a small team, who will then meet with our highest Municipal Officials.
It is interesting to note how Howick has evolved over the past 10 years. In 2007 there were 2 informal settlements in an around Howick, with 2 SAPS vehicles available for operations. In 2017 we find up to 10 informal settlements in and around Howick, but still the same compliment of SAPS vehicles available for operations. This is in part attributed to the fact that OFTEN crime is not reported to the local SAPS and cases are not opened. Local crime statistics are then not accurate and National SAPS do not see crime as a serious enough issue in our community to warrant additional resources. A case in point is that over the past month in Howick, well over 20 gate motor batteries have been stolen but NOT one case of theft has been opened at Howick SAPS.
KSS have also had the Bobbies Community Patrolling (BCP) Project running for over 3 years now in the Greendale Park, Lakeview and Eridene Road areas of Howick North, but the support from the community is very poor and criticism levelled at KSS and the BCP Project is often unfounded. The facts of the CBP Project are:
• Membership is 199 households.
• Cost is R100 per month (over and above alarm monitoring and armed response).
• There are over 1200 houses and 30 complexes in the patrolled area.
• The community buy-in is less than 16%.
• KSS supplements the shortfall in funding to keep the project running.
• If KSS had a buy-in of at least 40% (480 financially contributing members) KSS would be able to have 2 vehicles patrolling the area manned with Armed Reaction officers, 24/7.
People need to support local community projects if they want to see change and make Howick an even safer town.
KSS also facilitate the operations of the very effective Hilton Street Hawks Security Initiative in Hilton. The members pay R250 per month (over and above alarm monitoring and armed response services) and a dedicated, professional committee made up of volunteers from the community administer and monitor the initiative. The initiative has seen a reduced rate of crime in the Hilton areas patrolled by the Hilton Street Hawks.
KSS are 100% dedicated to our community, but not any one person or business is infallible – the difference is that KSS will never give up trying to make a HUGE difference for the good of all in our community. Our new premises and state of the art Control Room attest to the fact that we are improving all the time.
(KSS have moved to 5 Old Main Road – next door to their old premises).