The NRA’s volunteer team works hard to keep our streets and open spaces safe – but because most of it goes on behind the scenes there will always be residents who aren’t quite sure what’s being done.
This page explains what we do, how those projects make your family safer and what you can do to help.
Several times a year the NRA’s volunteer Community Security team meet to tackle crime at a community level.
Confusion #1: What area does the NRA work in? The NRA is a member organisation covering approximately one hundred streets, about 1,250 freestanding homes and another few hundred townhouses, flats and businesses.
You are responsible for securing your own home but if we, as a community, can keep even some of the bad guys away from your front door then we all win. That means making Newlands’ streets, parks and open spaces safer.
There are currently three Community Security projects, each funded in a different way:
1. DEDICATED PATROL VEHICLES
Three tactical vehicles patrol our area 24/7. Each is manned by an armed security officer who knows every street, most of the troublemakers and many of the residents.
These Community Patrols are funded by about 500 homeowners who subscribe to FADT’s ‘Localised Security Scheme’ (LSS). This used to be known as the ‘Bike Patrols’. Due to the changing nature of crime and the need for more effective night-time patrols, the NRA switched from bikes to cars about two years ago.
We started with one patrol car, then we added a second and today we have three. If we can increase the number of contributing households, we will be able to get a fourth car, and so on.
The sliding WhatsApp and Telegram messages on the right hand side of this page illustrate just a fraction of the work that this team does all day, every day.
Subscribing to this service is the single most important thing you can do to make Newlands safer.
If you are not already a subscriber, please seriously consider coming on board. The Patrol cars are at the heart of all our community safety projects. Contact Bradley Thomas on 083 679 5546 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2. LICENCE PLATE RECOGNITION (LPR) CAMERA NETWORK
Collaboration with neighbouring civic organisations convinced the NRA to implement a Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) camera network in Newlands.
After a major fundraising drive, this network was installed in 2019. The technology involves creating a ring of LPR cameras around our neighbourhood to proactively monitor known suspicious vehicles.
Licence plates are captured in real-time and compared to a database. If a match is found, SMS messages are immediately sent to a list of authorised responders. This is all automated and requires no human intervention.
All our neighbouring communities have adopted this technology and we pass information between one another. We help them, and they help us. And we all collaborate with the LPR User Group (recent press release below).
An incredibly valuable feature of this network, is that we can add a suspect vehicle to the database in real-time, after a crime is committed in our area. Whenever that vehicle passes any of over 1,200 LPR locations across Cape Town, it reveals its location.
Our cameras identify suspect vehicles almost every day and have been used to investigate numerous cases. Not long ago, there was a horrible house robbery in Copeland Road where an elderly couple were assaulted. Our LPR cameras were directly responsible for the arrest, later that same evening, of one of the suspects.
Confusion #2: Where does Fidelity-ADT fit into all of this? We have a longstanding collaboration with FADT. We absolutely do not require anyone to use FADT for their private security but we do make use of their systems to collect Community Patrol subscriptions and in turn we buy our Community Patrol services from them. Our Community Patrols are completely independent of the FADT Armed Response teams that respond to your burglar alarm. Of course the two teams back each other up as necessary but Armed Response reacts to alarm activations and Community Patrols are tasked entirely by the NRA. The Community Patrols have big bakkies with 'NRA Watch Community Patrol' on the doors, as well as FADT livery. The smaller bakkies used by FADT Armed Response only have FADT livery.
3. NRA COMMUNITY CCTV NETWORK
The NRA’s third, and newest, layer of security is the Community CCTV Network.
CCTV has been used for years to check what happened after a crime has been committed. That is useful but it does not prevent the crime from happening.
For some time it has been possible to have your CCTV monitored in real time by security companies. They can alert you, day or night, to suspicious activity. This turns CCTV into a crime prevention tool.
Most recently, this monitoring role has been taken over by Artifical Intelligence. In our case, where we have dedicated Community Patrol vehicles 24/7, the cameras themselves can identify suspicious activity and send alerts to the Patrollers’ phones. This happens within seconds and gives the officer an image of the activity, a short video and an exact location.
What this means is that at night we have 25 cameras watching the streets while we are all asleep, sending alerts to our patrol cars. It would be even better if we had twice that number.
The beauty of the system, which we pioneered here in Newlands, is that anyone can add a camera to this system – and we encourage you to do just that.
If you have a camera overlooking the street and would like the Community Patrols to know whenever there is suspicious activity outside your home, please read this overview or get in touch directly at email@example.com
And even if you don’t have cameras, remember that this fantastic layer of security relies on the Community Patrol cars to deliver results.
– Are you one of the 500+ households who subscribe and make these patrols possible?
– If not, please give it some thought – the safer we make the streets, the safer we are in our homes. Details of how to sign up here.
Confusion #3: Am I a subscriber to the Community Patrols? The NRA does not have a direct debit system and our Community Patrol levies are collected by FADT. If you are an existing FADT client you may already be subscribing to the Community Patrols. If not, it is easy to opt into the service and it will be added to your monthly bill. If you prefer not to be an FADT Armed Response client, you can still sign up to the Community Patrol service by contacting Bradley Thomas on 083 679 5546 firstname.lastname@example.org PLEASE sign up to this community service! It costs approximately R275 pm. More subscriptions give us more patrols - and more patrols make us safer.