With the increase in burglaries and robberies throughout the country, particularly in Harare, Safeguard Security has embarked on a number of community-based services to help keep neighbourhoods safe.
One of these is the neighbourhood patrols it is conducting in some Harare suburbs. These are generally suburbs that have experienced frequent burglaries and thefts.
Signs warning that an area is a Safeguard patrol area have become an increasingly common sight. Often such signs carry the words ‘See Something, Say Something’. This is a slogan Safeguard has adopted to encourage people to report anything they might have seen that seems suspicious.
They could report to the police or to Safeguard, if subscribed to its rapid response service, or to neighbours linked on a WhatsApp group or anyone else who might be appropriate. Safeguard response customers, if concerned, could call out the Safeguard patrol or response team to investigate.
“The fact that Safeguard is making its presence known in these patrol areas acts as a deterrent to criminals. When a policeman from the local police station is available, he accompanies us on these patrols,” Safeguard Alarms managing director Reason Chitiva said.
Suburbs where Safeguard is undertaking these patrols include Mount Pleasant, Alexandra Park, Emerald Hill, Newlands, Highlands, Pomona, Kamfinsa and Kambanje.
“These patrols have been largely successful in curbing criminal activities in the residential areas where we conduct them,” Mr Chitiva said.
Another area where Safeguard is assisting communities is in the protection of Zesa electricity transformers.
Frequent vandalism of electricity transformers has been a problem in suburbs throughout Harare. Zesa has been encouraging local residents to take steps to protect the transformers in their areas. Many have done so, as vandalism of transformers or theft of oil from them tends to result in their going without power for an extended period before the transformer is replaced.
When approached by residents to assist with securing their local transformer, Safeguard has agreed to set up free of charge an alarm system linked to its rapid response service. Where suitable a video camera may be included in the alarm system.
An early warning alarm reduces the time that an intruder has to vandalise or steal. In most cases it prevents wholesale loss or damage.
Safeguard has rapid response vehicles situated at various strategic points around the city, enabling a response team to reach the scene of an alarm that has been triggered within minutes.
All the neighbourhood residents have to do is to pay the quarterly rapid response charge, which spread between them does not amount to much. Safeguard owns the alarm system, CCTV camera and other equipment and maintains it.
The video camera not only relays back to the rapid response control centre images of what is happening at the scene but records them, enabling Safeguard to assist the police with these images in their efforts to track down the vandals. The first of these transformer alarm projects was in Greystone Park.
CCTV cameras have become an important security tool. Safeguard has installed one such camera mounted on a pole in Pomona that provides alerts and footage of movement through the area based on programmed times and routines. From the control centre local guarding and response units can then be alerted to suspicious movement and attend as necessary.
“Correctly set up,” Mr Chitiva said, “CCTV cameras programmed for alerts and response as part of a security plan for an industrial or commercial site or area provide an effective security solution and reduce the recurring cost of manned security for sites with multiple guard patrol posts.
“If the control centre receives an alarm signal from an area monitored by CCTV, it can direct a security guard at the premises and response teams to the area where the alarm went off and tell them what to expect there,” he said, adding that CCTV can also help improve the security of residential premises.
“Safeguard has more dedicated response and patrol units across Harare than any other business, enabling it to provide excellent flexibility and support.
“Cameras properly installed have a wide variety of applications for homes and businesses . if installed with thought and set up correctly as part of a security plan,” he said.