Pinewatch and Pinelands Neighbourhood Watch were invited to talk. The full Hall indicated it was a topic of interest and controversy. For the benefit of those residents who didn’t attend, this is a detailed record of the talks and concerns and questions raised by residents.
PINELANDS CAMERA PROJECT: PATRICK PILLAY of PINEWATCH
They are aware the PNW wants to deploy cameras.
They have visited Goodwood, Welgemoed, UCT and UWC Control rooms. This is their second camera project, the first is in Loewenstein. CCTV converges LPR (licence plate recognition), urban surveillance and vehicle patrols to make neighbourhoods safer. LPR cameras identify number plates, record and keep or cross check against a database for flagged vehicles. LPR can read in shade or at night. Urban surveillance monitors a public area with strategic located CCTV, monitored by 24 hour control room and assisted by patrolling vehicles. He showed 4 video clips of how cameras had picked up various incidents of theft and an assault.
Pinelands Street Camera Project PSCP:
They have been planning it for 7-8 months. They plan 4 phases, but it depends on the support.
If they complete Phase 1 then they have achieved something. Phases 2-3-4 would be nice to have. 1: LPR with live monitoring
2: Other strategic locations for overview cameras
3: PTZ camera
4: included University Drive
They have done it before especially with wifi networks and can make a camera installation successful. They have put up prototypes demo models in Morningside. Technician finalise the settings. It has a control box for maintenance flexibility. They have the infrastructure in place and four operators on duty in their Control Room which exceeds Control Room requirements..
So far, to show their commitment, they have put in R 119 800 in the form of demo CCTV at 2 sites (2 LPR and overview camera at Morningside and PTZ camera at Sunrise), two phases of their brochure and a base radio for PNW. They have admin staff to collect the money, sales staff to secure camera sites and control room staff. Once the cameras are up and running , the annual staff and operating costs would be R660 000. The estimated cost to Pinewatch (PW) for the project for 3 years is R2.15 million, and about R60 000 per month. The cost per camera is less than other neighbourhoods as they are subsidising a lot of the labour costs.
Partnerships are key to raising funds. They sent brochures to PW customers first as they had their information on record and can call them. They will use the July Muse (reaches about 4000 households) to send out their brochure and a letter. They should have done this the other way around and used the Muse first. The cost per household of R1480 is a reference point based on a 65% positive response of other Neighbourhood Watches - initially to be paid over 6 months but now they changed it to 8 months. The bigger the buy in, the less the contribution per household. It could be an administrative nightmare but they had to start somewhere. The “illegal letter” was a gamble to get people’s attention and stir interest. They expect a percentage of PW customers not to support it and this was a quick way to find out who. Sending the letter out wasn’t illegal – acting on it is. They need to call their customers to find out if they give a “yes/no” to contributing.
If they don’t get the support, PSCP has its own bank account and they will return the money if need be. It was based on 65% of PW customers not households in Pinelands. If the support is greater, then they can perhaps decrease the contribution or increase the number of cameras e.g. put one in Nursery Way. The idea was initially for 64 cameras but it was over R3 million. Another idea is a potential wireless/Eskom free emergency pole for the canal.
Their plan is to transfer the physical assets to PPRA after 3 years but this hasn’t been sorted out yet. Pinewatch would still provide the service. Why 36 months? because they can’t predict the political climate in the security industry. They commit to 36 months and can then review it -to gauge costs and what the project is doing for the community. After 36 months, what will it cost people? R185/year. Some suburbs pay R165 per month. Maintenance after 36 months? Axis cameras have a 8-10 lifespan and a 5 year warranty.
Privacy: In modern society privacy is a fallacy – City of Cape Town has 800 cameras, there are about 230 private cameras in public spaces, and some garages and shopping centres have cameras. Residents who have concerns can come and see the field of view. PW can mask it and resident can sign it off.
PW support PNW: it was the intention to have a satellite viewing station at Howard Centre Motors but there are still issues to iron out
Questions and comments from the public:
Q: Rene Brooks: if I’m ok to put money in but the cameras are nowhere near my property, what benefit is there for me?
A: We selected strategic locations for vehicle and foot areas for securing the whole neighbourhood but those nearer the cameras would benefit more.
Helen: Article in Cape Times states that privately owned CCTV on public property have to be registered.
A: none of the cameras would be on public places they would be on private property. The top and bottom of Forest Drive will be a challenge as private property is too far off.
Graham Childcott: Pressure is on both ends of Pinelands and Clyde area can’t be closed off. What about the area between the N2 and the golf course? It will funnel walkers with bad intentions. A: Need to take that into consideration and may need to look at thermal cameras there
Robert Wineals: Have Old Mutual, Pick and Pay and Woolworths been approached? It will be a benefit to them as Pinelands will be safer. A: We will discuss with OM after a month’s test regarding use of their building; Howard Motors have donated R10 000; we use Garden City Height at no charge
Steven Oslo: Could this not be run as a CID and a fee added to every ratepayers?
Brian Watkyns: Tried 12 years ago to get a CID going and PPRA got 70% response. The City Administration changed. Recently when they tried again, the PPRA only got about 10% responses. Time factor is an issue as a CID can take 3 years to form. Riad: Easier in a business area with just a few businesses than a residential area that needs more than 50% response.
Resident: perhaps a CID could take over the Camera Project after 3 years?
Thomas Blatherwick: We run Maitland, Glosderry, Stickland and have just been appointed the Salt River CID. Residential ones are harder to get going. Contributions are based on cent:rand of your property value. It doesn’t substitute for your service provider. CIDs take about a year to establish. They run for a 5 years process and then you have to reapply again.
Laura : I was part of the group who got the 70% response so why only 10% response now – need better marketing? Why have ADT and Chubb not been brought in? A: Pinewatch has 50% of clients in Pinelands and 5 cars and it is the biggest. The more clients we can get on board the better and the more vehicles we can put out.
Sybil May Jones: What cameras will there be near Clyde? A: In Phase 1 Clyde gets 4 static cameras and 1 PTZ for foot traffic. We are looking at putting a thermal camera there.
Linda MacIntosh: What about the Jan Smuts area? No cameras there and it is an area that the Police and PNW patrol often. A: if we get more support we can put cameras there.
Pat Leonard: Will there be communication with SAPS when LPR flagged vehicles enter the area?
A: not automatically, the response will have to be from our Call Centre to them
Q: Are you locking into the Greater Cape Town Camera System?
A: not at this point in time. Privacy issue. We are investigating the databases, they could be interchangeable. If they are on the same platform then we can do that. Ours will be compatible with the CCT.
Ian Jones: What is your communication to PNW when you pick up suspects? You say that Pinewatch is paying for this. It’s not - the Pinewatch customers are paying for it. What happens after 3 years? Will there be another brochure and another request for R1500?
A: we have committed to R185 per year.
Resident: On the network, we don’t hear PW respond when PNW patrols call in.
Lucille Kraak: What about pensioners who can’t afford to pay – will there be a rebate for pensioners?
A: We hadn’t thought of that
Theresa: Take a walk with Adam from PNW and he can show you the weaknesses near Jan Smuts area.
A: It’s an oversight, and we will relook that
Herbert Burger: Puts a motion forward that we need to start somewhere and is prepared to help pay
Wendy: I live near Field Close. Camera placing should be relooked at. Also an alternative motion that more people support PNW and buy radios as its helping. Criminals get dropped off and often come in on foot and cameras won’t help that. A: that area was an oversight
Jim McNamara: I am impressed; it’s good to keep the Canal safe and can also look at using some dummy cameras – some benefit?
Robert Winearls: Cant we put an article into local newspapers about the Camera Project so people outside Pinelands know about it – may also help as deterrent
Manfred van Oudstoorn: Do you have PNW full commitment and backing?
A: no answer
PINELANDS NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: Peter Hoffman
PNW has grown significantly in the last 4 months and now has 573 members – a 242 increase since April 2014. We now have WhatsAp groups, more radios (have 100 out in circulation) and sector leaders. For me the biggest success is that if you look at the crime pattern, the night time pattern due to the patrols and radios has shifted to dayshift and a large portion of it has shifted to Thornton. Thanks to all the hardworking patrollers and Sector leaders. We recently had 56 patrollers handing out leaflets about crime tips to the high risk area..
The bulk of Camera projects are run, owned and managed by Neighbourhood Watches and CIDs . Very few are managed or co-ordinated by private security companies.
PNW informed residents about their idea for LPM camera. Last year it was to scope the proposal and this year to implement it. We put it on the website 8-10 months ago saying this is what Pinelands needs as it will reduce crime.
It needs an independent body such as a NW, a CID or PRRA to co-ordinate manage and fund it. Rondebosch appointed a security company to monitor it. The Community can raise the funds.
Business can play a big role in funding. PNW would rather see PPRA , or PNW or a CID own it, fund it, scope it with greater input from the community. Once that’s in place, we can get businesses involved. Pinewatch can tender for what they are proposing. The advantage is that the community has a greater level of control over it.
A lazy PWN approach would be to stand back and let Pinewatch do it but we are nervous. We think it would be best owned managed and controlled by the community. To reiterate the bulk of camera projects are owned by CID and NW.
If Pinewatch receive an alert would they call ADT? There are 3 ADT vehicles in Pinelands and we need to maximise resources everywhere. There is also SMA Guarding. An independent body can maximise those relationships where with a private security company the relationships become blurred. Realistically the community has been asked to fund this project.
For the project to be a success it requires transparency, accountability and community participation.
More questions and comments from residents:
Q: Where will PNW come up with R600 000/year to run this?
A: Good question. After 3 years Pinewatch will ask you for R185 per year so the community will pay for it anyway. A few opportunities can be explored e.g . Old Mutual has a sophisticated camera system, perhaps they can be approached to monitor another 16 cameras . PW is asking the community for the capital costs which is R1.4 million, the cost to monitor for the 3 years and we need to investigate it as a community.
Q: Where we going to get the money?
A: we are going to have to get it in 3 years anyway
Phase 1 is only 1 PTZ so it’s a LPR project which has various mechanisms to fund it.
John Haupt: We’ve left the concept of the CID to raise money through Ratepayers. If there are 5000 houses, then for just R10 a month per household you can raise the R50 000 per month.
Thomas Blatherwick: PW has 65% of client base, 40% of whole of Pinelands
Q: Resident: You want us to start paying next month but the issue of ownership of cameras changing to PRRA hasn’t been settled
A: Pinewatch will start calling its customers, and so will need to push back the implementation a few months. They don’t yet know the response. The advertising/letter got a reaction, but they can’t just take the money from clients. Their customer base grows at about 10 customers per month.
Q: Will the money will be put into a separate entity, with Financial statements that are open to the Community
A: We have opened a separate bank account in the name of PSCP in Chris and Thomas Blatherwick name. We understand that we should have accountability.
Alan Dunnell: There is lots of red tape to form a CID. Pinewatch can provide the basis and been overseen by PNW and PPRA. I think this is more practical than a whole community to meet the legislation
Resident: If Pinewatch manage it for 3 years – then it gives NW a chance to take it over?
Ian McDonald: The opinion of members of PNW is that they don’t want to pay R1450 directly to PW but rather to a community based organisation. You want to recruit to increase members but from ADT and as a community we shouldn’t be underwriting that as a community project.
Riad : Proposal that PRRA and PNW and PW and ADT and SMA need to discuss this and interact to find some common ground. Pinewatch still needs to get feedback from their clients.
Robert Winearls: Suggested a CC with PW/PNW/PRRA?
Another resident seconded it
Eve Dunnell: PW have the technical ability to set it up and maintain. PNW hasn’t.
Thomas Blatherwick: We are willing to work with the community – PNW/PRRA/SAPS. We have the debit order infrastructure. We admit it was a mistake to not go via the Muse and all residents first instead of just to Pinewatch customers.
Beverley Paly of SPOTTM
Gave a brief presentation of their social media software. They are using Melkbos as a test and would like to use Pinelands as a beta test for 2-3 months. Some people use Facebook here and this is a different platform. It can have a mix of, for example, crime, sales and lost pets.