“It’s an adrenalin rush”
This is a sentiment shared between two controllers (radio controller provided by ADT and camera controller paid for from Verifier from resident/business contributions), are stationed at the Constantia Valley Information Centre in Bergvliet.
People’s Post was invited to the centre where the controllers monitor camera footage across the valley. The control room is linked to the Constantia Valley Watches Association (CVWA). The association is a collaboration between various neighbourhood watches in the Constantia Valley area, which include BKM Watch, Constantia Watch, Constantia Hills Watch, Golflinks, Nova Constantia Watch, Plumstead, and Southfield Watch.
Anita* and Vicky*, asked not to be identified as they deal with work that is highly confidential. Their work includes monitoring the roads for accidents, trees falling in the road as well as open gates and reporting watching vehicles entering and exiting the area. They work shifts of 12 hours with three days on and three days off.
“The work we do is extremely interesting and exciting as we get to see first- hand what happens on the roads. It is a very demanding, but satisfying job as our main objective is to ensure the safety and security of the residents,” Anita says.
Vicky says their work does not only entail monitoring the camera footage, accurately verifying all LPR alerts with SAPS, but also answering calls from residents who are in distress about something.
“Residents call and provide us with information with regard to incidents which makes our job easier and more effective. The interaction is important as it shows that residents take their safety and security seriously,” she says.
The woman both agreed that one of the most exciting parts of their job is to track car chases.
Anita says this is when everyone gets involved, which includes the flying squad, all security companies connected to the control room and police.
“As we sit in the control room we can feed information through to those involved in the car chase, we can tell them exactly where to drive and what to look out for,” she says. While this does not happen every day, Anita says when they are on to something or someone suspicious they are determined to apprehend the person and to ensure that they do not escape.
Vicky adds that while the centre has all the equipment needed to monitor the valley, the residents still remain an important element and play a big part in them performing their work well. “We have to build a good relationship with them as they are the eyes and the ears just as we are. We all have the same objectives and that is to make the valley a safer community to live in,” she says.
Meanwhile the association has established a website – www.cvwa.org.za – where they highlight their main objectives which include:
- Heighten awareness of the local residents to the extent of criminal and other activity within the Valley and surrounding areas.
- Encourage and promote cooperation and sharing between the different neighbourhoods in the Valley.
- Elicit the support of residents, businesses, organisations and bodies operating within the Valley to achieve the common goal.
- Provide a comprehensive crime monitoring and reporting mechanism from which all residents, businesses, organisations and bodies in the Valley may benefit and participate in to curb crime.
- Maximise the benefits that may arise from the pooling and sharing of resources and expertise that has been built in the Watches.
Vicky and Anita are determined to uphold these objectives through the work that they do and are committed to making a difference in the community. “Every day is different, but every day we do our best to ensure no crime, accidents or fallen tree is unnoticed as we do not want to create any opportunity for danger of any sort in the valley,” they both agreed.
To report anything suspicious or other problem matters call them on 086 000 2669.
The controllers real* names have been withheld as they deal with camera footage and data that is highly confidential and only provided to SAPS and investigators.
Courtesy People’s Post Newspaper 2015/08/04 – written by Astrid Februarie
To view online – http://issuu.com/thepeoplespost/docs/peoplespostqw_20150804