Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What areas do you do installations and monitoring in?

We install Alarm Systems, CCTV systems (both commercial & residential) and carry out servicing and repairs anywhere in the Cape Town area. We also monitor alarms for clients within this area

What areas do you cover in terms of your Armed Response services?

We concentrate our area of regular patrolling and Armed Response to Sunset Beach, Milnerton Ridge, Royal Ascot, Montague Gardens, Milnerton Central, Tijgerhof.

How many vehicles do you have on the road?

The area we cover is all within 6 kilometres of our base and we have 5 cars permanently patrolling around our suburbs, so we are never far from a potential activation. Our 5th car carries out special operations and observations, supporting the other vehicles when required. Our fleet of vehicles is growing further as we provide more dedicated vehicles to particular suburbs. In the near future all vehicles will also be equipped with CCTV cameras, capable of reporting live back to our Control Room.

What is your response time?

No company can guarantee a response time, but because we are constantly patrolling in our cars locally, we are never very far from an activation. This makes our response times generally faster than other companies who do not constantly patrol and are only responding from their base, which is often considerably further away.

Does an Armed Reaction Officer have powers of arrest?

A Reaction officer has the same legal rights as an ordinary citizen. They are however well versed in the Criminal procedures Act and know when and where they can exercise their rights.

I have been told that the best way to test your reaction time is to press my panic button, is this true?

We strongly discourage this practice. A panic signal is the highest priority signal and should only be activated in an extreme emergency. One of the biggest problems facing the Armed Response industry is false alarms. In fact the majority of call outs we attend to are false alarms – this impacts dramatically on our ability to attend to real emergencies.

I have automated gates, high walls, electric fence, how will reaction officer get into my property?

We offer unique “Gate Receiver” systems or key-safes that allow us access to your property. These are widely used within the industry and in complexes. Please speak to our Sales Department for more information regarding the cost of these.

Will the Armed Reaction Officer escort me into my premises if I am nervous?

Yes we do. This is a service that we offer our clients. Our Armed Reaction Officer will meet you at your gate and ensure you are safe. Please understand that alarm activations take priority and we request about a half hour notification.

What is the cost of the Armed Reaction Officer escort services?

This service is for free to our clients.

I see your vehicles parked on the side of the road, why do they not patrol all the time?

Our vehicles do patrol all the time, unless they are either carrying out special operations or maybe observing particular behaviour- very often in conjunction with our CCTV cameras. The Armed Reaction officer may also be on a rest break for a specific period of time which they are required to take within their shift. We encourage them to take breaks within the area they are patrolling, to maintain a presence, rather than return to the Control Room.

Do you work with any other Security Companies?

Yes, we work and have clients in conjunction with ADT, Chubb, SIS, MCW, HP Securities, District Watch, Star Alarms. This in effect means that we sometimes monitor alarms for them and they do the Armed response for us and equally the other way round, dependent on the location of the client.

Do you have anything to do with SIS?

Yes, we have a number of developing client partnerships with SIS. We are developing a number of static guarding projects together and we carry out all the Armed Response work for them and their clients in Montague Gardens, for which they do the monitoring. SIS also carry out the Alarm monitoring work for MCWT (Milnerton Crime Watch Trust) who do not currently have their own Control Room.

Do you have anything to do with Milnerton Crime Watch Trust?

Yes, we are both absolutely passionate about minimizing crime in our area, and if required will assist each other in making arrests, or carrying out observations and patrols, and sharing crime information for the benefit of our community’s safety.

The fact that you are both called Crime Watch is very confusing to customers
  • It is unfortunate that we both have the word Crime Watch within our names, but that has been the case since February 2010.
  • Both companies were closely affiliated originally and were formed out of Neighbour Watches. (Crime Watch SA out of Sunset Beach Neighbourhood Watch & Milnerton Ridge Neighbourhood Watch).
  • Milnerton Crime Watch Trust, was formed much earlier, with Craig Pedersen helping originally in the development and establishment of Crime Watch SA
  • There are many companies with the name Crime Watch within them.

Where does Milnerton Crime Watch Trust operate compared to Crime Watch SA?

The current area is defined on the Milnerton Crime Watch Trust website as being between Koeberg Rd to the sea and between Racecourse and Boundary Road in Milnerton.

Crime Watch SA covers: Sunset Beach, Milnerton Ridge, Royal Ascot, Montague Gardens, Milnerton Central, Tijgerhof

What are the differences between the two companies?

There are a number of differences highlighted below quite apart from the area’s that they cover.
It should be noted that both companies, unlike most Armed Response companies, patrol their areas constantly, rather than just respond to an alarm activation. This is born out of their origination as Neighbourhood Watches.

Crime Watch SA

  1. Full PSIRA*/ SAIDSA** (Industry Regulatory Authorities) compliant Control Room, where we monitor our clients’ alarms, 92 CCTV cameras that cover certain areas of our suburbs, and from where we dispatch our Armed Reaction Officers from.
  2. All Officers are Armed at all times.
  3. Install alarms and CCTV systems for both residential and commercial
  4. Fully equipped and registered Armed Response Company
  5. Operate 5 response vehicles currently (Blue & White) as well as 4 technical vehicles
  6. Private company
  7. Located in Koeberg Rd (opposite Steve Auto clinic), and very close to Milnerton Crime Watch Trust

PSIRA* – Private Security Industry Authority
SAIDSA** – South African Intruder Detection

Milnerton Crime Watch Trust

  1. Do not have a Control Room with which to monitor alarms. They use the services of third parties for example SIS
  2. Officers are trained as Armed Reaction Officers, but do not currently carry weapons
  3. They do not install either CCTV or Alarm systems
  4. They have 2 vehicles currently (Black & Yellow) that cover Milnerton Central
  5. They are a community based Trust and a non-profit organisation

Our Contractual Terms

How long is my Contract?
Unlike other companies that tie you into long term agreements, we have a very different approach. We would rather our clients want to be with us because they are satisfied with our services rather than forced to being with us due to contractual conditions. We therefore only require 1 calendar months’ notice to terminate your contract with us.

I am with another service provider, but want to join Crime Watch SA – how much notice am I required to give them?

If you are tied up with a financial agreement with your current service provider, then you will probably have to run the course of the agreed term before you will be able to join us, but you should discuss it with them and check the legality of any small print.
If you are not tied into any financial agreement, but the conditions in your current contract state anything longer than 21 working days, it is probably a condition that cannot be legally upheld. As a service contract 21 working days is the minimum legal notice that you have to provide. Legal advice should always be sought.

If I purchase my alarm system from you over a period of years – how long is my contract?

If you would like to purchase your alarm system over a period of years, rather than invest a significant amount of capital purchasing one outright, please contact our sales team who can arrange that and it has tax advantages particularly for businesses.
We made a decision to enter a partnership with a well-known financial institution that would fund the purchase for you. This enables you to be free of a long term contract with us, as the financial aspect is independent and you would only be required to give 1 calender months’ notice to us if you wish to terminate our services – we would rather you want to be with us than have to be with us due to contractual obligation.
If you have a question that is not covered in the sections above, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be pleased to answer your question.

Alarm Related

To switch over to Crime Watch – does my alarm system have to be changed?

No, it does not need to be changed, we can link over any current alarm system as is. Your passwords and user words can remain the same (if you wish) Please contact our sales team who will gladly assist. It is however recommended that one of our Sales Representatives come out and assess your current system to make sure it complies by today’s standards determined by SAIDSA.

What alarm system is right for my needs?

Please contact our sales team who are all trained in the use of alarm equipment and have many years of experience within the industry. They will come and give you a FREE assessment of your individual alarm needs, whether you join us as a client or not.
They will discuss the following with you

  • Your individual circumstances -e.g. any potential weak points
  • The size of the alarm system required – is expansion at a later date likely
  • What type of protection is it that you require
  • Internal & Exterior protection
  • Your pets needs and habits
  • How many users of the system will there be are there any different access levels required
  • Do you require a purchase agreement based over a three year period

Can I have an alarm system if I have pets?

Yes you can, as suppliers have developed a range of pet friendly devices which can distinguish between a pet and an intruder. There are however a lot of inferior products on the market that make this claim, but we would advise that you get advice from a SAIDSA (South African Intruder Detection Agency) qualified company or technician in this regard or you maybe unwittingly putting yourself at risk. All our technicians are SAIDSA qualified.

What is the pricing of your equipment?

There are many different types of alarm panel, sensors, detectors and beams on the market. Their individual ability, reliability and performance varies greatly and it is vital that you choose equipment that meets your individual need and risk.

Our technicians and Sales Executives are well trained in this equipment and attend regular courses. They are aware of the most reliable equipment on the market, and will match that to your requirement. You will always beat us on price if you decide to install inferior equipment

What do I do if I accidentally set off my alarm?

If you have accidentally set off your alarm system, you can deactivate it by simply entering your code and contact the control room to advise them accordingly. The Control Room will have already received the alarm signal and may well have dispatched an Armed Reaction Officer and be in the process of contacting you. They will ask you to confirm that you are safe and ask you for confirmation of your pass code to verify they are speaking to the correct person.

If the telephone is in use, will the alarm system communicate with the Control Room?

Yes. If the Alarm system is only connected by telephone the alarm signals take priority over a telephone call/internet and will cut you off in order to deliver the signal. The majority of our alarm systems are connected both via Radio Frequency and telephone line. The radio sends 3 confirmation signals to us of any activity.

What if my telephone line has been cut?

If your telephone line has been cut by an intruder, or if a storm or natural disaster disabled communications, your security system is still internally operational. The alarm will sound when sensors are triggered. However, emergency signals will not be transmitted to the Control Room, so the armed reaction team, police and fire authorities will not be notified by the controller. That is why we prefer to also install radios which send an instant signal on alarm activation.

My phone goes dead at the same time every day. Could the alarm system be causing this?

Yes. Alarm systems are programmed to communicate with the Control Room at the same time every day. This is to test your communications to the Control Room. If the time of day of the signal is inconvenient then this can be changed.

Can my Telkom phone bill be affected by the alarm and what if I am on prepaid?

Yes it can. The alarm system dials out every time there is a test. If it “Fails to test” it will continue trying. This will affect your phone bill. Also if you have prepaid and you run out of airtime then the alarm will not be able to send a signal. If your prepaid has a passcode (pin) to access the phone then the alarm will not be able to dial out. That is why we prefer you install a radio.

How long does it take my alarm system to contact the Control Room?

If your alarm system is connected by the telephone only, then there is a short delay (10-15 seconds approximately) as it has to dial out. We prefer to install radios which are instant in their transfer of signal. The radio sends 3 confirmation signals of each activity.

What happens if I cannot be reached in case of an alarm?

If you cannot be reached we will dispatch an Armed Reaction Officer immediately, and we will try to contact the key holders that you have nominated within your account and whom will be best placed to deal with any issues.

What does my keypad mean when it displays “NO AC” or”AC Failure?

The keypad will display “NO AC” or the Power Light may flash when the system no longer has electrical current. You will need to check the outlet and the transformer to make sure that the outlet is working properly and that the transformer has not been disconnected. If the outlet and transformer are working correctly, please contact our technical Department. We will schedule a service call for you.

Will my system still work when the power goes off?

Your system has its own backup battery that is capable of sustaining normal operation for several hours. This battery is also capable of powering the siren and the alarm communicator if the system goes off. It recharges automatically whenever the power is restored and its status is constantly monitored.

How long do the batteries last?

The system battery in the alarm panel is a rechargeable type that is kept charged automatically. The backup battery in the control panel should be replaced approximately every 2 years – some will last longer. Your keypad will normally display a low battery warning when a battery needs replacement. Wireless transmitter (lithium) batteries typically last two to three years.

What is a Low Battery Signal?

A low battery signal indicates that the battery which is used as backup power to your alarm panel is low on power or has failed and needs to be replaced. Often this is a result of the transformer being unplugged. Once the battery is totally dead, we will receive a “fail to test”, which means that your alarm system will not communicate to our Control Room at all & you will be at risk.

Can I replace the battery myself?

We do not recommend you do this as if you do not do it correctly you may cause damage to your alarm system. Rather contact our technical Department and they will book a technician to come out and replace the battery.

Is the voltage dangerous or can I get electrocuted?

The voltage of the systems is only 12v and very low current. There is a very remote chance that you might feel a slight shock if you were to cross certain power wires, similar to an electric shock from static electricity. Care must be taken however to not cross or short certain wires as it may “blow” a fuse in the alarm control panel and cause the system to become inoperative.

Will ADSL affect my alarm service?

It may. Normal alarm communications utilizes your regular phone line, with the DSL on the line, line seizure and communications may not work properly. If you are unsure, please call the Control Room and test your system.

How often should I test my alarm system?

We strongly advise that you test your alarm system every week and especially if you are about to go away. Do this timeously giving our technical department enough time to resolve any issues.. The simplest way of doing this is as follows:

  • Call the Control Room and advise them that you are putting your system on test.
  • If you do not make them aware they will assume it is a positive break in and dispatch an Armed Reaction officer unnecessarily
  • Set your alarm system as if you were leaving the property but remain inside
  • Once the system is armed, walk around the property into each area and trigger all the sensors, devices and panics
  • Once all zones have been triggered, contact the control room to review what activations have been received by them.

How often should I service my alarm system?

As your security provider we need to draw to your attention the importance of having your panel serviced on a regular basis. The industry recommendation is to have your alarm serviced a minimum of once per year. (Whether by us or another qualified service provider). Your safety and your property is our primary concern.
If you are experiencing any of the following issues, they are a fair indication that your system requires a service.

  • You have had to bypass a zone
  • Sending false alarm signals
  • Alarm sending Fail to Test signals
  • Lights flickering on the panel – LED’s not visible any more
  • Alarm not sending any signals
  • Alarm sending low battery or sensor issues
  • Broken cables – rodent damage etc

The Service should include the following

  • Full System Check – Arming of all Zones
  • Confirmation that all detection equipment is functioning correctly.
  • Alarm Panel, Beams, PIR’s, Magnets,
  • Battery Voltage Test, cables & connections
  • Transformer Voltage Test, cables & connections
  • Signal test to and from Crime Watch
  • There are “NO GAPS” in your alarm security provision
  • The correct Product has been used for the application, and protects the intended area.
  • Refresher training in use of your Alarm system.
  • Recommended Improvements to your system. (if any are needed)

NB – If you are not using a Crime Watch (SAIDSA qualified) technician, please ensure that the technician you use is qualified and issues you with an appropriate certificate which confirms the work he has done and that all zones have been tested accordingly.
In most panels this can be proved by downloading the alarm history. Obviously as you are using your own technician they will not be able to confirm these with the Control Room and will automatically terminate any warranties or responsibility that Crime Watch may have on your system.

How do I “BYPASS” a zone?

On most systems you can simply enter your user code then press “bypass” and then the zone number. This is useful if you want to leave a window or door open or temporarily exclude a zone from being armed. This will reset when the system is disarmed and must be re-entered each time you want to bypass a zone. If you refer to the technical section you can find a PDF version of your alarm panel to assist you. If you get stuck contact our control room and they will arrange assistance for you.

What does it mean when my keypad is not 'READY?'

This is the keypad’s way of telling you that there is a condition present affecting one or more of the security devices and the system is not ready to be turned on. It will require that you correct the condition before the keypad will allow you to arm or turn on the system. Common devices to check are the door/window contacts, when the window or door is still open. A motion detector may be sensing some form of movement.

My Code didn’t work, what should I do?

Enter your user code again carefully. If this doesn’t work or you continue to have this problem, it could be that your keypad buttons (or a certain one) is damaged from repeated use. Solutions would be to replace the keypad and change the User Code to avoid using the same digits repeatedly.

What is Videofied?

It is the most awarded alarm system in the world. (Crime Watch technicians are fully qualified installers of this prestigious system).The main feature being that the PIR motion sensors have built in cameras. Once the sensor gets triggered, special software within our control room gets sent a ten second clip of the area the sensor covers. This allows us to immediately see whether it is a false alarm or if there is an intruder and respond accordingly. This works especially well in commercial properties as in a lot of places reaction officers cannot see inside the premises. Thereby only contacting the owner to open up when really necessary and not for every false alarm that may occur during the night. Also by being a completely wireless system running on batteries allows you the versatility to move the sensors around to any location as needed. For instance on a construction site to protect equipment.

See Videofied in Action >>

Do you have an SMS notification service if my alarm goes off?

yes, we have two options to choose from:

OPTION 1
SMS OPENINGS & CLOSINGS – R99 ex Vat per month
An automated sms will be sent to the primary cell phone number, plus a second cell phone number if required, for all openings and closings. For 3rd and 4th cell phone numbers, an extra amount of R35 ex vat, per number, will be charged.

OPTION 2
SMS OPENINGS & CLOSINGS & ALL ALARM SIGNALS – R120 ex Vat per month
An automated sms will be sent to the primary cell phone number, plus a second cell phone number if required, for all opening, closing and alarm signals. For 3rd and 4th cell phone numbers, an amount of R35 ex vat, per number, will be charged.

Do you have a services that enables you to supervise the openings and closings of my business?

SUPERVISED OPENINGS & CLOSINGS (telephonic) – R200 ex Vat per month

Illegal opening:
1. Telephone call to premises number and/or primary cellphone contact
2. In the event of a ‘no reply’ – armed reaction will be dispatched

Fail to close:
1. Telephone call to premises number and/or primary cell phone contact
2. In the event of a ‘no reply’ or a duress code being supplied – armed reaction will be dispatched

What does Crime Watch do when it receives a client AC fail signal?

On occasions a ‘break in’ can occur when the criminal decides to cut or turn off the power to a property. In the Control Room it will simply highlighted as an AC fail, until such time as the criminal triggers other detectors. Most AC fails in residential property are caused by people forgetting to top up their electricity meters, but Control are not aware of that, and will dispatch an Armed Reaction Officer immediately and then try and contact you the client to establish what has caused the AC fail. In commercial properties, AC fails rarely occur because the meter has not been topped up, and are an immediate indication of other activity.

What signals come through when an AC occurs during load shedding?

During load shedding you will appreciate that we can receive hundreds of signals all at the same time. The Control Room are unable to respond to all clients and will not contact you, the signal will be logged away as ‘load shedding’ in the area.
Control will however be monitoring for any additional signals that come through from any property following the AC fail, and an Armed Reaction Officer will be dispatched to your property immediately, should we receive any additional signals. Control will try to contact you on both in the meantime.

CCTV Related

Do you install CCTV systems?

Yes we are doing this all the time both for commercial and residential clients with our own team of installers. We also maintain our own camera network system, currently of 92 cameras across our suburbs that we monitor from within our Control Room. We have CCTV monitoring contracts with numerous commercial and residential clients as well as Neighbourhood Watches.

We should draw to your attention that we do not install inferior CCTV systems. We will only install CCTV cameras that in the main have a warranty period of 3 years and this is on an immediate swap out basis, so your security is not compromised whilst a camera maybe being repaired.

Please contact our CCTV department who will be happy to meet you, talk through your requirements and the merits of different types of CCTV equipment.

Can I see my CCTV system via a mobile device (phone, tablet, and laptop) remotely

Yes, all of this is possible with the installation of an application and with an internet connection and will be discussed with you by our CCTV Manager

Can I link my CCTV system to my alarm system?

Depending on your alarm system, one can link it to your CCTV system in order to send snapshots via email depicting the camera visuals covering the area that triggered the alarm

Can I Purchase a CCTV system over a period of years?

Yes, If you would like to purchase your CCTV system over a period of years, rather than invest a significant amount of capital purchasing one outright, please contact our sales team who can arrange that and it has tax advantages particularly for businesses.
We made a decision to enter a partnership with a well-known financial institution that would fund the purchase for you. This enables you to be free of a long term contract with us, as the financial aspect is independent and you would only be required to give 21 days’ notice to us if you wish to terminate our services – we would rather you want to be with us than have to be with us due to contractual obligation.

Can my CCTV evidence be used in court?

Video footage and images when backed up are date and time stamped and cannot be altered. This will enable them to be used as evidence in court. More importantly the Crime Watch CCTV surveillance network may also have evidence of a perpetrator making their way to or from your property, which will corroborate with your own evidence of them being on site, further strengthening the case for a successful prosecution.

Does CCTV act as a deterrent?

Unfortunately in this day and age we require as many layers as possible to make ourselves and our properties secure and cannot simply rely on one thing. CCTV acts as an excellent deterrent especially if would be criminals are aware that it is being monitored. Most criminals cover their faces to avoid the cameras, but that does not stop them being linked to the crime itself. In a monitored situation we are alerted to the movement of people and if suspicious our control room will deploy Armed Reaction Officers accordingly to intercept.

Where are the Crime Watch CCTV/LPR and thermal cameras?

We will not disclose the locations of our camera network, but essentially it is growing (currently 92 monitored cameras 24 hrs hours a day 365 days a year at our central Control Room) that covers all the main suburbs in which we supply Armed Response services. These are Sunset Beach, Milnerton Ridge, Royal Ascot, Montague Gardens, Milnerton Central, Tijgerhof. Most Armed Response Companies do not invest in this type of infrastructure in the protection of their neighbourhoods. The network includes LPR (License Plate Recognition) cameras and thermal cameras with which to track the movement of people at night through the vlei for example.

I need CCTV evidence that you may have on your cameras – how do I get it?

CCTV evidence is only available free of charge to those people who pay contributions towards the Crime Watch CCTV project, or whom have funded their own camera and added it to the network. General Principals are:

  • A contributor to the project can get any CCTV evidence that we may have free of charge and we will assist in the time taken to search our extensive databases for it
  • A group or street that have funded their own camera added to the network, can obtain evidence from that Camera free of charge. If required from another camera within the network a charge will be levied as below
  • If you are not entitled to free CCTV evidence as above, the charges are as follows.
    - R1,500.00 contribution to the camera project. This will need to be paid before we will search for the evidence you require. The money is used to further develop the network and maintain it.
    - R420.00 (ex VAT) will be charged per hour for the Control Room to search the network for the evidence you require.
  • NB If having completed the search the evidence is not there, the charges above still apply’
  • NB If the CCTV operator is required to attend court to give evidence in support of how the evidence was obtained and the system, which will be charged at R420 (ex VAT per hour).
I want to join the Crime Watch CCTV ‘Safer Community Project’ and contribute on a monthly basis?

This whole network of 92 cameras currently has been developed from Crime Watch reinvesting its profits into developing the network, private contributors whom are dedicated to improving the safety of our communities, residential groups, Neighbourhood Watch group contributions and in particular Estate Agents such as Rawsons & Leapfrog who contribute significant sums each time they sell a property in particular suburbs. The system has really developed from the generosity of those heighted above, from which the whole community benefits and is one of the reasons why the crime in some of our suburbs in particular is so low.
If you would like to contribute towards further development of the project, please contact our sales team who will happily talk you through the scheme. On behalf of Crime Watch and the community we thank you.

I want to put a camera up in my street and have it monitored by Crime Watch?

Please contact our CCTV Manager, who will gladly come and discuss the whole process with you as we have done it numerous times in many different communities and locations – each with their own challenges.
Once you have defined the scope of property and the road that needs to be covered and agreed the location of the camera (must be on private property), then the CCTV Manager will give you a detailed break-down of the costs involved. This will include the links required in order to get the images transmitted back to our Control Room. These links are very often up to 40% of the installation depending on distance and the number of links required.
The CCTV Manager will happily attend any meeting with a residential group to go through the project and answer any questions in relation to the installation, the monitoring itself and Crime Watch policies. Once agreed and the funds are raised, installation will generally take place within two weeks (weather dependant)
NB. Please note that we will only install and monitor quality brands of cameras that have a minimum of a three year warranty (swap out policy) and are designed for our harsh environment in close proximity to the sea.

I do not want parts of my property to be visible by the CCTV camera?

This is common practice and if the cameras are being monitored in the Control Room, our CCTV installations Manager will discuss with you which views you do not want the Control Room to see.
These views are ‘masked’ out at source within the program and cannot be altered by anyone in the Control Room and are therefore your privacy in that regard is totally protected. The CCTV Manager will send you proof of what has been ‘masked’ for your approval and amendments can be made until you are satisfied

I have a neighbour who does not want their property shown on the CCTV camera?

Quite often a group of residents in a street, road, close for example, will get together to fund a camera that covers their properties and in particular the street. More often than not these are PTZ cameras (Pan Tilt & Zoom) that can over the whole area.
There are some people’s who’s views (and are totally respected) are that CCTV cameras are an invasion of privacy and absolutely do not want any part of their property covered by any camera. This is no problem at all.
These views (the entire property if necessary) are ‘masked’ out at source within the program and cannot be altered by anyone in the Control Room and are therefore that individual’s privacy in that regard is totally protected. The CCTV Manager will send you proof of what has been ‘masked’ for your approval and amendments can be made until you are satisfied

What is Crime Watch’s policy with regard to CCTV monitoring on its network?

Crime Watch has a wide range of contracts with commercial clients through to residential complexes and some private residents, where monitoring of CCTV cameras is contracted for specific periods of time.

In residential suburbs where they are not being paid to be monitored, but are part of the wider ‘Safer Communities project” then the cameras are monitored by the Crime Watch Control Room in three distinct ways. Prevention, Routine CCTV Patrolling and Detection in the main.

1. Prevention -Criminals do not confine themselves to one area, the same people can be seen by our Armed Reaction Officers in Montague Gardens, Tijgerhof and Sunset Beach for example, the CCTV network enables us help monitor their movements and deploy Reaction officers accordingly.

2. Control Room Routine CCTV Patrolling – For the majority of the average day, the CCTV network is monitored within its contractual obligations, or in routine CCTV Patrolling mode, dependant on the camera. The Control operators focus for periods of time through the day and night on each camera, which is recorded on a CCTV surveillance log.

This is where all the relevant cameras within the network are routinely reviewed to see if there is any suspicious or unusual activity occurring or that known individuals have not suddenly appeared in a particular street, where they have no reason to be. PTZ (Pan, Tilt, and Zoom) cameras often cover many households and even different streets and intersections. The Controller will scan each street.

Whilst the pictures provided by each camera are permanently on a screen within the Control Room, the operators cannot view every single one at all times. That in itself would require a significant increase in the level of manpower and is totally cost prohibitive in a residential situation.

3. Detection – In the event of a positive activation ‘Break In’, whilst the Control Room are deploying Reaction Officers to it, the monitoring side of the Control Room, can start to hunt and detect potential culprits fleeing the scene of the crime whether they are on foot or in a vehicle. Obviously we are limited by the extent of the camera network, but as it develops our ability to detect becomes more successful.

When suspicious activity is detected and being monitored by the Control Room operators, that is the focus of attention, because we have to deal with the immediate threat that exists. Our mandate is to’ Protect our clients, Protect their Property, Bring Criminals to Justice’ on occasion that may mean that other cameras are not being monitored because there is no Immediate threat at the time.

This enables us to provide intelligent policing, better detection, and excellent response times for added security within our communities.

Who is monitoring the cameras?

The Crime Watch Control Room is manned 24 hrs a day 365 days a year. There are currently a team of three sometimes four Control Room Operators who manage our Alarm & CCTV monitoring systems. They fall under the direction of a Control Room Manager, and are all PSIRA (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority) trained and comply fully with SAIDSA (South African Intruder Detection Security Agency) policies and Procedures.

Crime Watch Policies

What is Crime Watch's Policy on assisting Non Crime Watch Clients.

Very often people call into Crime Watch who are not clients of ours and expect us to simply respond to them as if they were. Rather than leave them at risk, our policy is as follows.

  • If they are personally at risk or in danger of being injured then we will respond to that person.
  • If it is their property or vehicle only that is at risk we will not respond to that person.
  • They should call their own service provider or SAPS

The Control Room Supervisor will as a matter of policy inform the Armed Reaction Supervisor/ Officer if they do have a vehicle in the area to investigate where we are able to.

What are Crime Watch responsibilities to dealing with problem animals?

We do not enter any agreements with our clients in relation to the handling of animals. We ask clients with dogs to ensure that clear instruction is on their notes with regards their own animals.
On occasion Armed Reaction Officers are asked to come and move or chase away Dogs, these are often considered threating, aggressive or dangerous.

  • As a general rule, Armed Reaction Officers will not enter a property if there is any danger that they will be attacked by an animal
  • Armed Reaction Officers are NOT expected to deal with dogs at all.
  • If asked to attend to a problem animal, an Armed Reaction Officer should attend the situation to see at first-hand what the problem is and direct the client from there.
  • They should make it clear to the client that they not be able to assist, and should inform Control of the issue that they see.
  • Control may be able to contact the dog’s owner or a neighbour who may be familiar with the dog
  • If they believe that they can assist the client and deal with the dog(s) in question and resolve the problem for the client – that is entirely up to them – they are under no pressure from the company to do so. Some people are more comfortable with dogs than others. It may be that backup may also be required to deal with the issue
  • On occasion, an agitated and scared client may behave in an unreasonable manner with the AR Officer expecting them to deal with the dog(s). The AR Officer should simply tell the client to ring the Control Room who will confirm the company policy.

My neighbours are disturbing the peace with excessive noise. What are we allowed to do?

Disturbance of peace/ noise nuisance – July 2016
South African law, through the Environment Conservation Act 73 of 1989 and municipal by-laws, protect recipients of intolerable noise pollution.

The Regulations define noise disturbance as follows: “Any sound which disturbs or impairs or may disturb or impair the convenience or peace of any person” and “disturbing noise” as “a noise level that exceeds the ambient sound level measured continuously at the same measuring point by 7 decibels or more.”

A resident in a town, and more particularly a resident in a residential neighbourhood, is entitled to the ordinary comfort and convenience of his home, and if owing to the actions of his neighbour he is subjected to annoyance or inconvenience greater than that to which a normal person must be expected to submit in contact with his fellow-men, then he has a legal remedy.”

The urban myth says you can make noise until 10pm on a week night and 12pm on a weekend but, in actual fact most municipalities have by-laws in place that focus on the number of decibels rendered rather than the actual time frame in which noise is made.

Municipal by-laws govern disturbing noise. An example of this kind of noise would be loud party music. This kind of party noise is generally tolerated until 10pm on a Friday and/or Saturday evening before you can take steps against the perpetrator/s. SAPS will generally deal with these noise issues if there are complaints from neighbours and there are steps to follow if it becomes a nasty habit of a neighbour.

Noise nuisance is a totally different matter. This can include playing loud music, a musical instrument or operating a television set loudly, operating machinery or power tools that cause a noise nuisance, shouting and talking loudly, allowing an animal to become a noise nuisance, operating a vehicle that causes a noise nuisance and driving a vehicle on a public road in a manner that causes a noise nuisance. This noise is illegal at all times and is enforceable at any time of the day.

In terms of section 25 of the Act, The Regulations define noise disturbance as follows: “Any sound which disturbs or impairs or may disturb or impair the convenience or peace of any person” and “disturbing noise” as “a noise level that exceeds the ambient sound level measured continuously at the same measuring point by 7 decibels or more.”

What will Crime Watch do to assist with a noisy Neighbour?
If you are a Crime Watch client and contact the Control Room regarding a noisy neighbour, the Armed Reaction Officer can accompany you to discuss the issue with your neighbour (which is generally considered more amicable than just asking the Armed Reaction Officer to go). The law can be referred to in conversation with the neighbour (as quoted above) and hopefully you can agree to either a reduction in the noise level or an agreed cut off time or both. You can also inform Law Enforcement accordingly. If the problem persists and your requests are ignored, you should contact Law Enforcement to deal with the issue.
I have a problem with Vagrants on my property – what can Crime Watch do?

If a vagrant is on your property or any person unauthorised to be there, Crime Watch are empowered by you to remove them to the nearest public space. Unfortunately we are not legally empowered or authorised to remove them further than that as it is every citizen’s right to be there.

If a vagrant or unauthorised person has committed any damage to your property or lit a fire for example they can be arrested accordingly and will be taken to SAPS and charged provided there is appropriate evidence, which the Armed Reaction Officer is well aware of.

Did you not find your answer here?