Action to secure suburbs

2007-12-01 00:00

Four competing security companies have teamed up in a bid to fight crime in the Upper Highway area after 19 murders in three months.

ADT, Enforce, Securelink and Blue Security form part of the Highway Safety and Security initiative that has embarked on the Operation Fight Back campaign.

Brian Jones, the director of the drive who also heads the Hillcrest Community Information Centre, told Weekend Witness: “The October shooting spree that claimed the life of a 17-year-old boy and seriously injured two others inspired this initiative as we are no longer safe anymore”.

He added that although the campaign will be ongoing, it will be on trial for the next two months as residents still need to be given more information.

“We want them to see this working without digging in their pockets.”

Such safety will cost each household R250, while big businesses will be charged R5 000. With time, a total monthly payment of R150 000 is required, although only R5 000 has been committed to date, said Jones.

A dedicated emergency number serving the Upper Highway area including Hillcrest, has been set up to service residents, whether they subscribe to the service or not.

“We’ve also got an SMS service that will keep residents informed of recent breakthroughs or alerts,” Jones said.

While many fear that the presence of armed guards in public streets will be dangerous, Jones said the guards will only carry pepper spray.

“The guards have been trained to observe and monitor certain patterns, spot suspicious persons and work along police to apprehend,” Jones said.

He added that Amanzimtoti engaged in a similar plan earlier in the year, but Operation Fight Back is different because it is the collaborative effort of private companies with Metro and SAPS officers.

Jones said that the community is “ecstatic” and the safety and security campaign will, with time, be duplicated in other suburban areas.

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