Information hub helps boost safety

After more than a decade, a hub to centralise information around the security of City Bowl residents is still going strong.

Residents came together after a series of violent crimes in the area. The plan was to join forces and make a positive impact on the situation. This led to the birth of what is today known as the City Bowl Communication Hub.

“We cover a large part of the City Bowl, from Buitensingel to Bellevue Road, and from Kloof Street to Signal Hill,” says Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch (TBKWatch) chairperson Thorsten Kingelhoeffer.

“We are a voluntary organisation with around 700 registered members. Our goal is not to replace or replicate what is already being done by the police or security companies, but rather to work together with them. We are doing this by becoming active participants in our own safety.”

The communications hub connects the public to a variety of emergency and other responses in the City Bowl, 24/7, explains Kingelhoeffer.

The hub allows neighbourhood watches and emergency response services, such as armed response companies, Law Enforcement and the police, to respond to incidents.

TBKWatch receives funding and logistical support from Fidelity ADT.

“There are multiple different communication methods: Radio network is the primary, secondary is the phone lines and thirdly is the Whatsapp and Telegram platforms,” he explains.

“Every shift is different and it is responded to in various ways depending on what services are currently available in the area. The most common method is to broadcast the information via the relevant radio networks.”

Kingelhoeffer says a key part of their success thus far has been their cooperation and coordination with other Law Enforcement and security role players.

“There are weekly meetings with our colleagues in the police where we analyse and plan our activities based on crime trends.

“We also enjoy a very positive relationship with the private security companies operating in the City Bowl and together we respond to complaints from public open spaces in our areas.”

Technology, explains Kingelhoeffer, has also played a big part. Human resources can be more strategically deployed while automation and technology take care of the rest.

“For example, the City Bowl has a large network of strategically placed cameras which all link back to the City Bowl Communication Hub, operated by Watchcom­.

“TBKWatch and the other neighbourhood watches in the City Bowl link up with Watchcom, from where information about incidents is sent out to relevant role players to respond. We’re in constant radio contact with each other, with the police and City Law Enforcement, and the CID.”

Kingelhoeffer says: “We have a problem with opportunistic crimes such as theft out of motor vehicles. It fills my heart with pride when I hear that our members worked hand-in-hand with the police and with private security companies to help arrest any suspect who saw an opportunity to steal something.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped us over the past 12 years – with money, with patrols, or with information. We’re ready to help anyone who needs help in the Tamboerskloof area.

“Make contact with Watchcom on 021 422 4222 or look for any of our social media profiles,” says Kingelhoeffer.

V For more information about TBKWatch visit www.tbkwatch.com.