SECURITY ISSUES

The SAPS Emergency Number is 10111

The number for the Killarney SAPS Sector Patrol vehicle is 071 675 6001.

You can call or text SAPS Sergeant Mdlolo on 082 355 5646

The Fire Department can be reached at 10177

The JMPD call centre is on 011 378 1000.
If they are unable to help you, try the hotline number – 080 872 3342.
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SAFE ZONE PROJECTS

For a few years we have suffered the inconvenience of illegal street parties of various sizes. It would seem that most of the street party attendees live in Killarney. Many of them are employees of our buildings, living in cramped staff quarters which barely have space to accommodate a bed, far less entertain a party of friends. Many others are tenants – often also renting a cramped room in the staff quarters. A “sustainable solution” would be difficult for most buildings to achieve, but at the same time we cannot do nothing, as we would then follow Hillbrow down the drain.

The issue is particularly severe at the illegal taxi rank in eastern 1st Street, where alcohol is openly sold as well as consumed. The existing laws prohibit the drinking of alcohol on a public road or pavement. However neither the SAPS nor the JMPD have shown any inclination to get on top of this issue, and both are pleading resource-constraints and alternative priorities, so we cannot realistically expect any progress here anytime soon.

We therefore advocate that Killarney residents should work together to manage the problem ourselves, while we wait for the authorities to get a grip on their many challenges and work their way down their priority list to reach Killarney. The recommended approach involves creating a series of overlapping Safe Zones, using guards on the street supported by cameras and armed response units. This approach also involves the costs of the projects being borne voluntarily by the residents.

A number of buildings have put guards on their pavements, at their own expense, to protect pedestrians, driveway gates and visitors’ cars etc. This generally works very well as a preventative measure to deter average criminals, although determined armed robbers would be a much more difficult challenge. In western 1st Street the situation deteriorated badly before residents intervened, and when guards were finally hired to manage the situation the NKRA supported them by installing a high-definition camera at Daventry Court, who also hosted the camera by paying for the electricity and the guard who monitors the equipment. Daventry Court also installed a number of extra floodlights along their back wall overlooking the problem area, which also helped a great deal. We had a lot of help from the ward councillor and multiple security companies, and the situation has now largely been resolved.

We have investigated the Vumacam service, but they are very expensive, and do not provide the functionality we need.

We are seeing developing issues in 2nd Street and 3rd Street, which if left alone will undoubtedly grow worse. Our new project here is intended specifically to address the growing number of street drinkers in 2nd Street near the Mall, and the sometimes-boisterous Uber drivers in 3rd Street, as well as the car washers and the occasional hawkers in 2nd Street and in 3rd Street. All of these contribute to a general erosion of the by-laws, and the authority of laws in general. If left to themselves, things will continue to deteriorate.

Ideally we would like to have a guard on every corner 24/7, backed up with cameras and armed response vehicles. However this is unaffordable. Therefore our new Safe Zone project will be a pilot project of one mobile guard, for 10 hours per day and four days per week (Thursday to Sunday), patrolling a circuit of all of 2nd Street and 3rd Street between 4th Ave and Killarney Ave. Because the envisaged patrol area is large, the guard will be mounted in a tuk-tuk vehicle, so that he can circulate rapidly. He will have a radio and a phone, and can be contacted by the guards of participating buildings if they need support. For most of the time, he will circulate and “be visible”, and hopefully create a substantial deterrent effect, as well as taking note of issues and recording evidence with a mobile “go-cam” camera.

The project can obviously grow and develop over time, increasing the number of patrol hours or patrol days.

We know from our own experience that this approach really does work. We just need enough buildings to participate, so as to secure each piece of the suburb one step at a time, until we have taken back the entire area. It will not succeed overnight, but the alternative is to decay into another Hillbrow-type high-density failed suburb.

If enough adjacent buildings participate, the costs of each Safe Zone will be between R50-R100 per household per month. That is not a lot of money, when compared to the loss of investment value if the suburb continues down the Hillbrow-path. We therefore ask all buildings to consider the long-term outlook, and to either join a Safe Zone project, or at least suggest a viable alternative. Even if not all the adjacent buildings are willing to participate from day one, it is still in everyone’s best interests for at least some buildings to move ahead in the meanwhile and make a start, as best their resources permit. There is too much at stake to quit now.

It has been agreed that the NKRA will underwrite the project for a few months, filling in the shortfall between what participating buildings contribute and what is needed to fund a basic pilot project. To this end we are asking individual households in the affected zones to also make small donations toward their Secure Zone project, to cover costs while we wait for the buildings to go through their various internal governance and budgetary processes.

It is possible that this approach may indeed solve the problems completely, as it successfully solved the more-serious problem recently in western 1st Street. It is also possible that we might merely “shift” the problem elsewhere. However our overall strategy is to have EVERY street covered by a Safe Zone in the medium-term, so that soon there will be nowhere left for the problem to manifest. 5th Street and 4th Street are already fully covered by Safe Zones, including the park. Western 1st Street and western 2nd Street are already fully covered by Safe Zones too. Only eastern 1st Street (the taxi rank), eastern 2nd Street (the proposed project area) and 3rd Street are not yet protected. Once we have addressed 3rd Street and eastern 2nd Street, the only unprotected spot north of the motorway will be the taxi area itself. It might take a while longer to get on top of that particular area, because we will have to wait for assistance from the authorities, but it will be done eventually.

Additional projects can be created at any time to cover the area south of the motorway, ie 7th Street to 10th Street, as well as Riviera.
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COMMUNITY POLICING

The most effective crime-prevention technique is “Eyes on the Street”.
This involves every citizen paying attention to what is going on at all times, and reporting suspicious activities quickly enough to allow the police to catch them in the act.

Please try to get a photo of any “suspicious” person or car – including if at all possible the license plate number.

The SAPS have issued dedicated cellphones to every SECTOR PATROL vehicle, so that the community can contact their local police patrol car anytime we see suspicious people or activities. The number for the Killarney SAPS Sector Patrol vehicle is 071 675 6001.

Please load this number into your speed-dial, and pass it on to all your security guards and your neighbours. Obviously we must avoid false alarms, but this initiative will bring the police much closer to the people, and with some diligence we can now assist the police to catch the criminals in the act.

Our biggest security concerns are car theft, theft out of parked cars, and “smash & grab” at traffic lights. Please don’t park in the street if possible, especially in the evenings, and never leave valuables in plain sight.

The police have portable devices called “morpho-touch machines”, which enable them to scan the fingerprints of people at roadblocks and elsewhere. All the fingerprints of all wanted persons are stored in the memory of the machine, so if a wanted person is scanned at a routine roadblock or tavern-raid the machine signals to the police officers and the person will be arrested immediately. The SAPS arrest many suspects on these routine roadblocks and sweeps, so if you are a victim of crime it is essential that the police take fingerprints before you clean up and repair your car or window-sill. It is also possible that your particular criminal is already on the criminal database for other offences, or in the drivers’ licence database or the firearms’ licence database, in which case the police might be able to trace them very quickly.

We are also targeted by a cat-burglar from time to time. Please keep your windows and balcony doors locked while you are out or asleep, unless you have adequate burglar bars. This applies to apartments that are higher up as well – these burglars have climbed in through 4th floor windows with ease.
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Communication Mailing List

In order to share information quickly across the suburb, we have established a mailing list of contact persons in the various buildings. We currently have at least one contact person in about half of the buildings, but that leaves a number of buildings which are not “in the loop” at all.

If you would like to be “in the loop” and receive email notifications of events and issues, please contact me at wdford@global.co.za to be added to the mailing list. Please also send me the email addresses of your trustees if possible.