Parkhurst Village 2018 AGM Safety Report
The SafeParks pro-active security scheme
The challenge of preventing crime in or suburb is that most of it originates on the streets. It is thus
Impossible to secure our homes if we cannot secure the streets and public places. Just having a home alarm monitoring service provider will therefore only help on a reactive basis, ie after a security breach on your property. A security solution to patrol public spaces needs to be coordinated and paid for by all residents.
SafeParks was created by PRABOA to achieve a solution that can achieve this, if supported by enough residents.
Funding by residents
Parkhurst is a suburb of around 2,200 households, plus a substantial amount of about 200 businesses also based in Parkhurst, the vast majority of both groups whom already pay for some security solution, unfortunately mostly for a re-active home or business alarm monitoring service. The problem is not money – the current total spend for all households and businesses in the suburb on security is substantial. The key problem, however, is a lack of coordination as the suburb is highly fragmented in terms of service providers and they mostly only protect your home/ business, not the neighbourhood.
Suburbs who have managed to get a substantial rate of support from their residents and business owners have been very effective in driving down crime. Some of our neighbouring suburbs have support percentages of up to 85%. In Parkhurst we do not even have a 40% support base, but then everyone complains about crime? Given our support base, we feel that the SafeParks scheme is very effective in managing crime in our suburb, but sadly we could do so much more if we could substantially increase our support base.
The SafeParks/ Parksec partnership scheme
From 1 August 2016, PRABOA/SafeParks and Parksec had been cooperating under a partnership agreement with Cortac as the service provider for the suburb.
The partnership has proven to be very successful, as membership has grown slowly but steadily and we are able to add additional security measures over time. Yes, crime is still present in our lovely suburb, but can you imagine what crime would have been without the SafeParks initiative?
All monies collected are used to purchase these services from Cortac. If there is a surplus but the surplus is insufficient to purchase an additional vehicle or required service, this is ring fenced in the PRABOA SafeParks account and builds up. It is not simply given to Cortac as an additional profit. Decisions on the purchase of services and how to use any surplus funds are decided by the joint SafeParks / Parksec Oversight Committee, with PRABOA functioning as an additional oversight role on governance and spending of surplus funds.
How much do residents have to pay?
Monthly subscriptions are divided into two parts – a Public Space Security (PSS) contribution and an Home Alarm Monitoring often called an Armed Response (AR) contribution. The PSS debit order goes to SafeParks and the agreed fee is then paid to Cortac. The AR debit order goes directly to Cortac. While this may seem unnecessarily complicated, having the PSS debit orders payable to SafeParks gives us, as residents, control of the scheme. Should we regrettably need to terminate Cortac’s services at some point in the future, we are able to move the combined PSS contributions to a new provider. The power lies with the residents, not the security provider. We would like to cofirm that we are happy with the security services provided by Cortac to date. Where there are problems of service delivery, we engage directly with Cortac management to address such
To date, the PSS monthly contribution was R393.68 (which includes a discounted R25 PRABOA membership fee) and the AR contribution is R358.11 giving a total contribution of R751,79 per month. While it is possible to contribute to the PSS on a stand-alone basis and to purchase your home armed response from another provider, it is not possible to only purchase the AR portion, as it is a negotiated and discounted rate.
Rather please keep in mind that you are almost certainly already paying a security provider. By joining the SafeParks / Parksec scheme and switching to Cortac for your AR you will improve the scheme’s total revenue. This will then directly translate into additional proactive security measures. Your money will be deployed on a cost plus basis whereby the residents association has direct oversight of how it is spent.
Everything has a price and costs are increasing. We have been successful to keep costs down, but there are certain cost increases we cannot avoid. For Public Space Security, we have been fortunate that in 2017 we did not had to ask for an increase last year. For the AR portion, the increases was only R45 per month, effective from 1 November 2017.
We are currently negotiating the 2018/19 increases with Cortac, Clearly we would like to keep increases as low as possible in the bleak economic climate, however salaries and fuel costs is a substantial part of the cost basis, as our Cortac vehicles patrols 24 hours of the day. Note that this is another way that the reactive security service providers save a lot of money as they park and only move around a few times a day, if any!
PSIRA, the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, have regulated a 7% salary increase, backdated to 1 April 2018. This and fuel costs necessitates that we have to increase both our PSS and AR rates. We will conclude both these before month-end and notify clients and this will also be presented at the AGM.
These increases will be added to your Cortac debit order (both on new AR contracts and old Parksec contracts) as well as your SafeParks agreement from 1 November 2018. Note that we thus ‘subsidised’ the increases up to then.
Much has been said about cameras. We are often asked what happened to the cameras that were ‘promised’ during the initial launch of SafeParks. It is important to note that this was not an “open promise”, somebody had to pay for it. The camera roll-out modelling was purely based on the envisaged buy-in by residents, as mentioned earlier this support did not materialise, thus firstly the camera rollout could not take place and secondly, the scheme was not financially viable.
PRABOA and the SafeParks team are constantly reviewing options for the future. We should all just remember that cameras are only one part of a community security solution. Due to all the foot and vehicle traffic in Parkhurst, as well as all the open entry and exit points, cameras cannot give the security cover that it can in a fully controlled environment. In controlled areas, intelligent rule based cameras are much more effective as it searches for specific incidents/ movements. And the cost of monitoring cameras is very high.
What have we done to date:
We have engaged with various security experts on possible solutions and developments
- We have run two trail tests for long periods at the corner of 4h avenue/ 6th street to test different equipment solutions
- Since 22 September 2017, we have installed a permanent CCTV camera solution at this corner of 4h avenue/ 6th
- Since then we have installed two more Number Plate Recognition cameras in selected high traffic streets.
- We have also installed a high tech mobile camera solution in one of the Cortac roaming vehicles.
Over time, but only as we can afford, we may install additional camera points at other strategic entry and exit points. We will also continue to monitor industry and service provider developments. This remains exiting for the future, as costs are coming down, data cost decreases and technology improves the whole time.
Fourth Avenue informal car guards and car thefts
Much has been published on social media about incidents with the informal car guards operating around Fourth Avenue. SafeParks have been dor long engaging with the businesses along Fourth Avenue about alternative solutions to address these incidents. Unfortunately the best solutions are not cheap, and the businesses have recently come to the conclusion that the proposed solutions are simply not affordable to them. They are currently considering alternative and cheaper solutions to manage the present car guards. WE have also recommended to them that they supplement this by installed camera solutions that can provide evidence on any crime related events. SafeParks cannot on its own fund and provide a dedicated security solution around the business operations if they don’t financially contribute to such solutions.
In the interim, SafeParks have rolled out an additional strike vehicle that focuses on crime hot spots such as the Fourth Avenue strip. However, we can only continue such if we get enough business support, which to date have not been forthcoming.
By far the most crime that happen in Parkhurst is theft of or theft out of vehicles, mostly parked in streets by visitors or where inadequate parking exists. SafeParks have been continuously highlighted the risk of this to our clients, especially regarding certain targeted vehicles or visible items left in vehicles. But most of these thefts happen to non-clients, some who may not even be aware of the risks.
Current financial position
Financially the scheme is fortunately sound and we have also been able to add services as detailed in this report, such as the strike vehicle over the last few months.
As said, the surplus SafeParks contributions are ringfenced and will only be used for security related initiatives, as well as keeping a security reserve of R165k to cover at least one month’s expenditure. In addition, we signed a 24 month contract for the imported roaming number plate recognition system and have to keep a provision against this liability. We also made a substantial provision to implemrnt additional security over the year end period, where we always see an unfortunate spike in crime activities.
The way forward
Current membership contributors in Parkhurst are just over 800. If we consider this to the householdings of over 2 200 and a substantial amount of businesses (200+) operating in Parkhurst, thus less than 40% support, this is just not good enough!
A huge portion of the community unfortunately still only contribute to reactive security providers or not at all. If we had more financial support, there is so much more we can do.
What can you do:
- Join your street whatsapp security group (some streets also have vacancies for street captains)
- Support the SafeParks PSS solution
- Use Cortac as your AR security provider
- Get on the weekly security newsletter (contac Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org )
- Phone in all suspicious activities to the Cortac control room
- Be involved!
- Join and monitor of website and Facebook pages: