Security efforts in Stellenbosch received a major boost this month, with the launch of a dedicated local community control room. This monitoring centre is based at Stellenbosch Watch and will serve the broader Stellenbosch municipal area.
“Community control rooms play an important supporting role for local security agencies and partners,” says Verena Hulme, Cape Town North district manager at Fidelity ADT. Her company joined advanced operational resources with the Stellenbosch Watch Community Control Centre as part of their 21-year partnership.
“This is our ninth community control room in the Western Cape, and takes our commitment to Stellenbosch to a new level,” she adds.
“Our staff members will be dedicated to this monitoring centre, from where they will monitor local social media platforms and other communications platforms. We are privileged to have a long history with the residents of Stellenbosch and this new upgrade will ensure even better response to any local security or crime related incident anywhere in Stellenbosch.
“We are confident that our investment in this new local control centre will ultimately improve security and safety efforts across the region, and everyone who live and work in Stellenbosch will benefit. We welcome residents to visit us at the upgraded facility where we will also have sales and administrative staff to serve our clients and the community locally.”
The local community control centre has direct contact with local Fidelity ADT armed response and Specialized Tactical Response vehicles, Stellenbosch SAPS as well as other police stations in surrounding areas, and local neighbourhood watches.
Reinhard Fourie, CEO of Stellenbosch Watch, says they welcome the addition of advanced resources and the direct communication with the Western Cape Joint Operations Centre based in Cape Town. This and the addition of an extra Tactical Response Unit for the rural community will assist tremendously in the fight against crime in the Winelands, he adds.
“We are fortunate to have many hard working and committed men and women who work tirelessly to keep Stellenbosch and surrounding areas safe. This new addition to the Stellenbosch Watch Community Control Centre will help us to respond even more effectively to any emergency or incident – whether it is a complaint on a WhatsApp group, an alarm signal in the centre of town, or an alert message generated by any of the licence plate recognition cameras deployed in our area,” he says.
A partnership approach between the community and law enforcement agencies is the only way forward to develop a safe and secure environment in which communities live, says Stellenbosch SAPS’s head of visible policing Col Brian Muller.
“It is therefore of critical importance that this initiative receive all the necessary support from all members of the Security Cluster in the Stellenbosch Policing Precinct to enable all of us to serve our communities with professionalism and passion.”
The Stellenbosch Community Policing Forum (CPF) describes the control centre as an “excellent initiative … to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community”.
“During my time as CPF chair of Stellenbosch I have seen security companies and SAPS take hands and go well above and beyond the call of duty in order to apprehend suspects. We cannot stop crime but we can try our best to try and stop the wave of crime that is currently sweeping through our area,” says Linda van Rooyen, Chairperson of the Stellenbosch CPF.
“Along with active neighbourhood watch members that are also doing their part in being the eyes and ears by reporting crimes, I do believe that a difference can be made. This control room, well equipped as it is, will definitely play a valuable part in crime prevention and response time.”